March 11, 2009

Ford to close Wayne, Mich., assembly plant

U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. said it would close its Wayne Assembly Plant in Michigan, where it produces the compact Ford Focus.

Ford said it will shift Focus production to the Michigan Truck Plant, which is also located in Wayne, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

The truck plant, where Lincoln Navigator SUV and Ford Expedition SUVs were assembled, has been closed since last year.

As we cease production of the current model Focus and start production of next model "¦ the people who are on site will keep building the Focus, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's group vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs said in a conference call.

Ford said the agreement reached with United Auto Workers last week would save the company $500 million. In addition, the company can save about $6.5 billion in cash, as the agreement allows the company to fund a healthcare plan for retirees using company stock.