Dec 27 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co plans to invest more than $773 million on new equipment and capacity expansions across six U.S. manufacturing plants in southeast Michigan.
The plan is part of its commitment to invest $6.2 billion in U.S. plants by 2015 as part of the agreement reached in October 2011 with the United Auto Workers union, the automaker said on Thursday.
Ford said the investments will create 2,350 hourly jobs and allow it to retain another 3,240 hourly jobs. The new jobs are part of the 12,000 Ford previously said it would add or retain in the United States by 2015 under the UAW deal.
Some of the new jobs will earn entry-level wages, which start at just under $16 an hour. Traditional nonskilled UAW workers at Ford earn an average of just over $28. This year, Ford has added more than 6,500 hourly jobs and most of those were filled by people hired at the entry-level pay rate.
Over the next six months, Ford said it will upgrade stamping operations at Michigan Assembly Plant and Dearborn Stamping Plant, as well as finish work at Flat Rock Assembly Plant to build the new Fusion sedan. Some Fusion production was shifted from Mexico under the four-year pact with the UAW.
The work will include $59.4 million to expand the stamping press line at Michigan Assembly, $305 million for plant modernization and new equipment at Dearborn Stamping, and $161 million for new equipment in Flat Rock.
The investments also will include $86 million at Sterling Axle Plant, $87.7 million at Van Dyke Transmission and $74.7 million at Livonia Transmission, all for new equipment.