While eagerly expanding output of the mid sized Fusion sedan, Ford Motor Co. also said its plant could also produce another model as demand expands.
Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally is hiring almost 6,500 new workers this year in the U.S., where Ford is the second-largest automaker and leads the industry in market share growth through 2013’s first seven months. The Fusion is challenging Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry as the nation’s top-selling car while selling at an average premium of more than $2,300 per vehicle.
The additional shift of 1,400 new workers at the Flat Rock plant will boost Fusion capacity more than 30 percent, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said today in a statement.
“We certainly have the flexibility for the future to do more,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, told reporters today as the first Fusions rolled off the line in Flat Rock, Michigan. “We’re trying to get our capacity set up to meet demand. With the growing demand for our trucks, growing demand for Fusion, other product lines, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Flat Rock now builds the Fusion and the Mustang sports car, which are based on different vehicle architectures. The United Auto Workers union also signaled that Ford may add another new vehicle at the plant.
“The Mustang and the Fusion are two different platforms, so we’ll be introducing two right now,” with flexibility for more, Hinrichs said. “We could do a lot of different things.”
The Flat Rock plant is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of downtown Detroit, which last month filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Detroit is reorganizing as the U.S. auto industry nears its fourth straight annual sales gain, the longest streak in more than a decade.