DETROIT—Ford Motor Co. will add $350 million in new investments at two Michigan assembly plants of top of previously pledged spending.
The auto maker said Tuesday that it will invest $200 million in its Flat Rock Assembly Plant for an advanced data center. It will also spend $150 million at its Michigan Assembly Plant in addition to what was pledged two years ago as part of the automaker's contract with the UAW.
The latest planned outlay at Flat Rock follows a $700 million spending plan announced by CEO Mark Fields in January. Both of this year's announcements at Flat Rock—which builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental—are separate from a $400 million pledge for the factory that was part of the 2015 UAW deal.
That UAW accord also included a Ford promise to invest $700 million in Michigan Assembly to re-tool the plant to build the Ranger and Bronco later this decade. On Tuesday, Ford said that changeover would require more spending.
"Back in 2015, we hadn't done a full-blown plan on how to convert the plant," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in an interview. "Now that we're in the implementation phase, it's been a little more than we originally thought."
He called the initial $700 million for Michigan Assembly estimate "a little conservative" and said the added cost was not a surprise.
The auto maker also reaffirmed a $150 million investment in its Romeo Engine plant. That spending was also pledged in 2015 when Ford signed a four-year pact with the union. Ford's investment will result in 130 created or retained jobs at Romeo Engine. Hinrichs said the number of new jobs will be "incremental."
In total, today's announcement brings spending across the three plants to $1.2 billion.
Hinrichs said Ford's government affairs team informed the White House of its plans early today.
Hinrichs said the March 28 news wasn't related to the "very, very big, very important" auto industry announcement Trump teased on his March 15 visit to the American Center for Mobility in suburban Detroit.
"We had not had any discussions with the administration or given them a heads up," Hinrichs said. "We don't believe this is what he was talking about."
Ford will begin retooling its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne in May 2018. The small car plant makes the Focus and C-Max. Hinrichs declined to say when production of those two products would stop to make way for the Ranger and Bronco.
Ford said the changeover will take four weeks.
"It's a similar to Dearborn," Hinrichs said, referencing Ford's 2014 transformation of its Dearborn Truck Plant to install the equipment to build the redesigned aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.
The Romeo Engine investment will allow the plant to build components for several vehicles, including the Ranger and Bronco, Ford said. The facility builds engines for the Super Duty, E-Series, Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang and Shelby GT350R Mustang. It makes engine components for F-Series, Mustang, Explorer and Edge.
"UAW-Ford is proud of the total investments in three of our Southeast Michigan assembly and engine plants, which will lead to stronger job security for our members and continued support for the surrounding communities," UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement.
Ford said it has invested $12 billion in its U.S. plants and created nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs throughout the past five years.
"Any time we have major investment news for Michigan and the U.S., it's a big deal for the economy," Hinrichs said. "It's a good day for Romeo, Wayne and Flat Rock. We're excited to continue investing in the U.S."