Ford Transit Van

Ford has confirmed that its Transit van will be manufactured in Kansas City. The company plans to invest $1.1 billion in facility upgrades and tooling to produce both the next-generation F-150 and the Transit in preparation for the van's arrival on U.S. soil in 2013. That investment is $700 million more than Ford had previously allocated for its Kansas City facility. Ford says the extra cash will go toward new paint and body shops in addition to an integrated stamping plant. The upgrades will also allow Ford to increase F-150 pickup production with the addition of a second manufacturing shift.

Previously, we had heard word that Ford would embrace the T-Series naming convention for the Transit, with models breaking down into trim levels similar to what's seen on the current F-Series, though the press release after the jump specifically refers to the new van as the Transit. Does that mean Ford will rely on a new system of trim designation for the van? It's hard to say, but either way, it certainly sounds like the days of the E-Series/Econoline range are numbered. Hit the jump to see the full press release for yourself.
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Ford Confirms Increased Investment in Kansas City Plant For Transit Commercial Van Production, New Stamping Facility

Ford will migrate its commercial vans around the world to a common, global platform in 2013, when Kansas City Assembly workers begin producing the full-size Transit for North American customers

The company will invest $1.1 billion in the Kansas City facility – $700 million more than was previously committed – following the recent ratification of the competitive new UAW-Ford Collective Bargaining Agreement and tax incentives provided by the state of Missouri and city of Liberty, Mo.

The Kansas City investment covers facility upgrades and re-tooling for production of both Transit and next-generation F-150. Part of the incremental investment will be allocated for building a new integrated stamping facility to support full-size Transit body panels and other stamped parts

Facility upgrades begin after the current Escape ends production in April. In May, Ford will add one shift of F-150 production at the Kansas City facility, increasing its shifts of its best-selling full-size truck from one to two

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 21, 2011 – Ford Motor Company today confirmed Kansas City Assembly Plant workers will build its full-size Transit van – Europe's best-selling commercial vehicle – when the new product joins its North American lineup in 2013.

This is another example of the company's One Ford strategy to serve customers with world-class vehicles and leverage global assets, including common platforms, and brings new jobs to greater Kansas City.

The company is investing $1.1 billion – $700 million more than was previously announced – in a new body shop, new tooling in the Final Assembly Area, an upgraded paint shop and an all-new integrated stamping plant, which will be located on an adjacent property in Liberty, Mo. A portion of the investment also will be used in the future to support next-generation F-150 pickup production at the plant.

"Our plans for transforming Kansas City Assembly and constructing a new integrated stamping plant to support Transit production demonstrate just how committed Ford is to our employees, the city of Liberty and the broader Claycomo community," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "More importantly, this shows that Ford is truly committed to investing in the U.S. and doing our part to support U.S. manufacturing, which is critical to our country's ability to compete."

Ford is investing $16 billion in its U.S. operations – including $6.2 billion in U.S. plants – to design, engineer and produce more new and upgraded vehicles and components by 2015.
The company also is adding 12,000 hourly jobs at its U.S. manufacturing facilities – including 1,600 in Kansas City.

The current SUV line at the Kansas City facility, which will be idled for re-tooling after the current Escape model is phased out in April, will re-open in 2013. During re-tooling, the plant will continue to build F-150 trucks.

The company also plans to increase F-150 production at the facility, which will build the trucks on two shifts instead of one beginning in May. This will bring approximately 800 additional employees to the Kansas City Assembly truck line, for a total of approximately 1,700 workers.

When this increase takes effect, Ford will build the nation's best-selling vehicle on five shifts – two in Kansas City and three in Dearborn – allowing the company to better meet increasing customer demand.

F-Series, America's best-selling truck for 34 straight years, is experiencing a year-to-date total sales increase of 8 percent. The F-150 equipped with a V6 engine remains extremely popular. The fuel-efficient EcoBoost V6 accounted for 42 percent of F-150 sales in September, while the 3.7-liter comprised 15 percent. This is the fifth consecutive month that V6s have outsold V8s in the F-Series.

"Our 'Built Ford Tough' F-150 just keeps getting better and better, and this capacity increase at Kansas City will help us satisfy customers who don't want to wait to own one," Fields said. "Our new F-150 engine choices include the innovative EcoBoost with best-in-class power, performance, capability and fuel economy our truck customers truly want and value."

Kansas City Assembly Plant is Ford's fourth North American facility to be re-tooled to produce new vehicles that are part of the company's balanced product portfolio of cars, utilities, trucks and commercial vehicles. The company's commitment to install a new product line requiring this level of investment was enabled, in part, by the recent ratification of the new UAW-Ford Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"The men and women of Kansas City Assembly Plant have a proven track record of building a high-quality product that customers love," said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director of the National Ford Department. "They are a strong and dedicated workforce, and I know they are up to the challenge of building this exciting all-new product for North American customers."

In recent months, Ford also worked closely with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri State Legislature in passage of the 2010 Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act. This legislation provided tax incentives, which also contributed to Ford's ability to commit to the Kansas City Assembly Plant through new product, new investment and new jobs.

"Americans and Missourians have been building automobiles for generations. It's who we are.
It's in our blood," Gov. Nixon said. "From major plants like Claycomo, to small suppliers located in every corner of our state, American auto workers keep our country moving forward. It was vital that we keep these folks living and working right here in our communities."

Ford's current commercial van, the Ford E-Series, is built at the company's Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. Certain E-Series body styles will continue to be available through most of the decade, even after the Kansas City-built Transit goes on sale.