April 14, 2015 / 4:14 PM / in 3 years

Exclusive: Ford plans $2.5 billion investment in Mexico - sources

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Friday will announce an investment of about $2.5 billion in Mexico, industry sources said, the latest multibillion-dollar outlay in the country’s booming auto sector.

People walk near the Ford exhibit area of the New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center ahead of the event in New York March 30, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Ford will invest $1.3 billion to expand its plant in northern Chihuahua state, where it will build two new diesel engines, with another $1.2 billion planned for a transmission plant in central Guanajuato state, the sources said on Tuesday.

The U.S. automaker will announce the investment in Mexico City on Friday to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its presence in Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto will attend the event.

A Mexican official said the Chihuahua investment would probably create about 4,000 jobs.

A Ford spokeswoman in Detroit declined to comment.

Ford is Mexico’s fourth-largest auto exporter, according to official industry figures, selling 108,417 units abroad during the first quarter. The majority headed to the United States.

Ford announced its last major investment in Mexico in 2008, $3 billion to update its Cuautitlan plant in central Mexico to produce its popular Fiesta model.

The company also has a factory in the northern state of Sonora, where it produces the Fusion subcompact and the high-end Lincoln MKZ.

In recent years, foreign automakers have expanded their presence in Mexico, lured by its cheap labor, myriad free trade agreements and proximity to the United States.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), the world’s biggest automaker, would spend $1 billion to build a new factory in Mexico, producing 200,000 cars a year, and planned to announce the investment on Wednesday.

Reporting by Reuters News; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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