Production of the new AV would get underway at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant in MI, as the 2020 electric crossover that is being built will be moving to Mexico.
The electric vehicle, whose more-advanced battery system will enable a driving range of more than 300 miles, will go into production in 2020 at Ford's Cuatitlan plant, which suppliers say will also build a new hybrid crossover vehicle around the same time.
In August 2016 Ford announced plans for a level 4 automated vehicle, and has now confirmed that it will be a bespoke design specifically to meet the needs of commercial fleet operations.
The Flat Rock, Mich. factory had been designated for production of an unidentified electric auto. And it's not all bad news for US auto workers, as Ford also plans to invest $200 million and add another 150 jobs at its Flat Rock, Michigan location to develop self-driving systems.More news: USA to maintain Russian Federation sanctions until it withdraws from Ukraine, Tillerson says
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As of a year ago, Ford had meant to build the autonomous vehicle at its planned small-car plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, but that facility was canceled in January.
Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, in MI, builds the Mustang and the Lincoln Continental.
Likewise, moving the electric crossover to the company's Cuautitlan, Mexico plant will likely enhance already-low margins on the vehicle. Production of the electric SUV is expected to start in 2020, while the autonomous vehicle will start rolling off the production line in 2021. Of course, Ford has switched CEO's since the previous announcement with Jim Hackett tasked to accelerate Ford's electrification and autonomous vehicle strategies.
"This allows us to bring this exciting new vehicle to global customers in a more effective way to support our overreaching business goals", Ford said in the memo.