Ford plans to retool the Claycomo Assembly Plant, laying off workers at the end of the week.

The company wants to retool the assembly plant to produce the full-size Transit van. At the end of the week Ford will begin laying off 1, 100 to 1, 200 employees, who will receive 74% of their pay and full benefits during the layoff, which is expected to last from 12 to 18 months. The company hopes by 2013 to have the facility ready to manufacture the Transit, one of the best-selling vehicles in Europe. Meanwhile, production of the Ford Escape will be moved to Louisville, Kentucky.

As part of the retooling plan, the company will expand the Claycomo plant to 5.2 million square feet from 4.8 million square feet, and build a new integrated stamping plant. Officials declared that after the retooling process will be finished and production will begin, a new Transit van will roll off the assembly line every 90 seconds. Ford is confident that the lay-offs and the retooling process will not affect production of the F-150 pickup truck, which is also built at the Claycomo plant.


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