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Ford Is Said to Shift Plans Again for Underused Mustang Plant

Keith Naughton and Gabrielle Coppola

(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. is changing course a third time in as many years with its Mustang assembly plant in Michigan, nixing plans to make a new model there and tentatively shifting production to a factory in Ohio, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ford no longer intends to build electric vehicles alongside Mustangs at its plant in Flat Rock, south of Detroit, according to the people, who asked not to be identified. The product now appears to be heading to the automaker’s plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, where it’s investing $900 million to build an unspecified new product in 2023.

The United Auto Workers outlined the Ohio investment Friday in a document highlighting the tentative agreement the union reached with Ford earlier this week. Workers will start voting on the contract on Nov. 4.

Roughly a year and a half after moving production of a future electric sport utility vehicle to Mexico from Flat Rock, Michigan, Ford said in March it planned to build other battery-powered models there and add a second shift of workers by 2023. The apparent switch to Ohio leaves the factory making only the Mustang and the Lincoln Continental sedan.

Flat Rock stopped assembling Fusion sedans in 2016. U.S. sales were down 10% for the Mustang and 25% for the Continental this year through September. The UAW’s highlights of its agreement with Ford say the company has agreed to build an all-new Mustang in Flat Rock and invest $250 million in the facility.

To keep the underutilized Flat Rock plant open, Ford committed to a “viability strategy” that includes “continuing to explore future opportunities” to find new products for the factory over the next four years, according to the union document. The contract also protects Flat Rock by including it in a moratorium on plant closings and sales during the life of the four-year deal.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan at knaughton3@bloomberg.net;Gabrielle Coppola in New York at gcoppola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Chester Dawson

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