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New Life for Louisville's Ford Assembly Plant

Thursday December 9, 2010

Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson today joined Ford Motor Company executives and employees at the Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) to celebrate the company’s planned $600 million investment at LAP that will transform the plant into Ford’s most-flexible, high-volume plant in thImage of the Louisville Assembly Plante world.

The state-of-the-art facility will build the next-generation Escape for the North America market starting late next year and will require the addition of a second shift, creating 1,800 jobs incrementally above current staffing levels. The investment was made possible by the approval of a state incentive package in 2008 that paved the way for Ford to retain and grow its Kentucky footprint.

In a strategic effort to further solidify the Commonwealth’s commitment to Ford Motor Company’s growth in Louisville, Gov. Beshear and Mayor Abramson also announced the approval of an amended incentive package at today’s Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority meeting, increasing the incentive amount by $60 million for a total of up to $240 million. The additional incentive is intended to encourage Ford to make further investments in the future.

“Kentucky takes great pride in its ongoing partnership with Ford Motor Company,” said Gov. Beshear. “The transformation of the Louisville Assembly Plant demonstrates the depth of that relationship and the tremendous results that can occur when state and local government and the private sector work together. It is because of our relationship that the Commonwealth proactively approved an amended incentive package today that will create the flexibility to bring Ford’s total investment at Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant to $1 billion and increase employment by another 1,000 by 2016.”

“Only one word can capture the magnitude of today’s announcement – WOW! Ford is making a long-lasting investment in the company’s future in Louisville, Kentucky and a tremendous commitment to our citizens by dramatically expanding the number of good-paying jobs,” said Mayor Abramson.

The Louisville Assembly Plant is the third North American body-on-frame truck plant that Ford is re-tooling to enable production of fuel-efficient products from its global vehicle platforms.

The plant will reopen with tooling and facility upgrades in its final assembly area and body shop. Reprogrammable tooling in the body shop will allow the plant to produce multiple vehicle models at the same time without requiring downtime for tooling changeover.

The new technology will allow LAP to build up to six different vehicles at the same time, allowing Ford to meet demand more quickly in the event of potential shifting customer preferences dictated by changing economic conditions.

“Our Louisville Assembly Plant transformation further proves our commitment to American manufacturing and our commitment to deliver the high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles people really want,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “Working closely with the UAW and Kentucky officials, we have found a way to competitively deliver an important new vehicle that is good for our customers and supports our plan to deliver a well-balanced product portfolio of cars, trucks and utilities.”

Ford’s investment at LAP for production of the next-generation Escape also is supported by the company’s green partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. LAP is one of 11 Ford facilities in the U.S. participating in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentives Program, which is helping to develop advanced technology vehicles and strengthen American manufacturing across the country.

“Today's announcement is both exciting and significant on many levels,” said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. - The Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Not only is it bringing new jobs and investment to the plant, but it's establishing Louisville as a key partner in Ford's future growth and innovation.”

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at http://www.ThinkKentucky.com.