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Ford Americas President Mark Fields at the Flat Rock As... Ford Americas President Mark Fields at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant (Credit: Ford).
Call it a job creation dividend of rescuing the U.S. auto industry. Ford Motor Co. is adding 1,200 workers to a suburban Detroit factory to build the 2013 Fusion sedan, a sign of confidence that the revamped sedan will be a big hit when it goes on sale this fall.

The Fusion is already Ford's best-selling vehicle after the F-Series pickup. Ford hopes to grab even more buyers with the 2013 Fusion, which has improved fuel economy and a sharper, more chiseled design.

Ford Americas President Mark Fields told workers at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant Monday that the mid-size car segment is growing two times faster than the rest of the U.S. auto industry. The Fusion is one of the top sellers in that segment, behind the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

"I can't underestimate how important the Fusion is to Ford," Fields told hundreds of workers gathered on the plant's lawn for a ceremony with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others. "It's an all-out battle for the American garage, and Ford is in it to fight to win."

Ford and other automakers have been hiring at a rapid pace to keep up with U.S. sales, which are expected to increase by 1.5 million this year over the 12.8 million sold in 2011. Secretary Solis said the U.S. auto industry is in the midst of its strongest growth period since 1996.

Ford Motor Co. will hire the workers for a second shift at Flat Rock next spring. Some of them will be new, but others will be workers who were laid off at other Ford plants that have been closed in recent years, Fields said. The company will also invest $555 million in new equipment at the 25-year-old plant to make the Fusion. Currently, the plant has around 1,700 workers on one shift making the Ford Mustang.

Ford has only made Fusions in Mexico until now. But labor contracts passed in 2007 and 2011 lowered Ford's U.S. costs, and the company promised to move some production from Mexico back to the U.S.

The Flat Rock plant was owned by Mazda Motor Corp. from 1987 to 1992, when it became a joint venture with Ford. Mazda still owns half the plant, but stopped building cars there last month and has ceded operational control to Ford. Ford is already paying all of the plant's workers.

Ford hasn't led the industry with the top-selling passenger car since it achieved that with the Ford Taurus in 1996. The output of the Flat Rock plant won't allow the car to surpass Camry or Accord, but if the public warms to it the way Ford hopes, it could add Fusion production to another plant and take a shot at the crown.

Check out: Does Detroit Have A Car To Dethrone the Camry?

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  • 37 Comments
      Dick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great start to putting the USA back to work. Nice job Ford .......................... Dick
      streetrodjohnny
      • 2 Years Ago
      unlike gm who are setting up more factories in china than here on our bail out money... they claimed they paid their way out of bankrupt position, but they did it with bail out money, then take most of their production to china.....thanks for nothing
        croshatch
        • 2 Years Ago
        @streetrodjohnny
        Johnny, is GM shipping China-assembled cars back to the U.S.? No. Those cars are for the Chinese market. The Chinese love Buicks. The profits come back to the U.S.
      • 2 Years Ago
      We can only hope that more companies and even politicians learn from this and make it a trend.
      schoonmakr
      • 2 Years Ago
      "[G]rowing two times faster"? What ever happened to the word "twice"?
      doncarmb
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are we building vehicles in Mexico, Brazil and China. Make them pay for imports!
      manitouharbor
      • 2 Years Ago
      People forget that Ford was the only one of the US "Big Three" that didn't need a bail out and had cleaned up their UAW mess years earlier. Chrysler is now an Italian company and will fair much better in Fiat's hands. GM is still 30% owned by you and me and does 40% of it's business in China. If you want to call that "Saving the Auto Industry", be my guest.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @manitouharbor
        Talk to the newly hired American auto workers!. On foreign policy talk to bin laudin! Oh thats right he is dead courtesy of our POTUS. Obama is doing a great job in spite of the boners and mcconnels. I hope Michigan, Ohio, and Wisc. remember "let Detroit go" by witty the flip flopping mitty. Obama/Biden 2012
        • 2 Years Ago
        @manitouharbor
        Talk to the newly hired auto workers!. On foreign policy talk to bin laudin! Obama is doing a great job in spite of the boners and mcconnels. I hope Michigan, Ohio, and Wisc. remember "let Detroit go" by witty the flip flopping mitty. Obama/Biden 2012
      itooso
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring back all the jobs that left America, then there will be people working here, buying homes, food and other items. Put the dollars stores where they belong, overseas and across the border. Let America be a great nation, take care of its people, do I have to say more!
      vamborools714
      • 2 Years Ago
      the rightwing hate machine is NOT going to like this.
      doncarmb
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are we building vehicles in Mexico, Brazil and China. Make them pay for imports!
      bnapoli
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford Motor did not take government ( bail out ) money. They did it their way, so lumping them with the so called auto industry bail out is minmizing their self determination and earned success.
      dmspeno
      • 2 Years Ago
      the auto bailout was a LOAN and is being paid back with interest! Wake up republicans, and nobody is telling you what to buy.
        siscosdad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dmspeno
        Loved it when Chrysler bragged about not taking a bailout. No, they sold out to Fiat :-D
          manitouharbor
          • 2 Years Ago
          @siscosdad
          Chrysler did take the money but Fiat paid it back shortly after the purchase.
      fredforr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring them all back Ford
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