LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. announced Monday it will invest another $450 million and create about 1,000 jobs as it further consolidates its electric vehicle program in southeast Michigan.
The new jobs are mostly tied to advanced lithium ion battery production, including some work shifted from Mexico to Michigan. It's welcome news in a state saddled with the nation's highest unemployment rate of 14.7 percent in November.
Ford also announced at the auto show in Detroit that it will build a next-generation hybrid vehicle and plug-in hybrid at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne starting in 2012. The new work comes in addition to the previously announced next generation of the Ford Focus, including an electric version, which will start production in 2010 and 2011 at the same factory.
Those projects combined could save more than 8,000 Ford jobs in southeast Michigan. Ford facilities in Wayne, Warren, Sterling Heights and possibly Rawsonville near Ypsilanti could get pieces of the new work, according to a memo outlining a tax incentive agreement approved by a state economic development board Monday.
Under the agreement, the new battery-related jobs would come with the help of a tax credit valued at up to $78 million over a multi-year period.
The other tax credit approved Monday by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority is to help save existing jobs. That tax credit is worth $110 million.
"This investment underscores how serious we are about delivering a range of electrified vehicles to customers — including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles," Bill Ford Jr., Ford's executive chairman, said in a statement.
Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report from Detroit.