(By Balaseshan) Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) said it would add more jobs at its upgraded Louisville assembly plant to produce the new fuel-efficient Escape small utility vehicle (SUV).
The company celebrated the production of its most fuel-efficient small utility vehicle Ford Escape at its Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant, where it has invested $600 million and added 3,100 jobs.
As part of the upgrade, Ford installed new tooling and improved equipment in the plant's final assembly area and body shop, including more than 1,000 robots and 20 miles of conveyors.
Ford has already added 1,800 jobs at Louisville plant and is adding 1,300 additional workers to a third shift this fall, bringing total hourly employment at the plant to 4,200.
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The Louisville plant, which is the third Ford plant in North America that transformed to producing fuel-efficient vehicles, opened in 1955 and the upgraded plant has been shipping the new Escape for about a month.
Nationwide, Ford has added more than 5,200 hourly jobs already this year. With Louisville's third-shift in place, by year-end, Ford is set to deliver more than half of the 12,000 additional jobs it committed to add by 2015.
Ford said the upgraded Louisville plant is capable of producing up to six different vehicles at the same time, making it Ford's most flexible U.S. plant.
The all-new Escape offers strong fuel economy and customers' choice of two EcoBoost engines – a 2.0-liter four-cylinder as well as a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that delivers 33 mpg highway, which is 2 mpg better than the Honda CR-V and 5 mpg better than Toyota RAV4. The Escape also features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 31 mpg highway.
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In addition, Escape delivers 11 features - including a hands-free liftgate with motion-sensing technology, SYNC with MyFord Touch and active park assist. The Escape also features a new Ford Intelligent 4WD system that provides even better traction off-road.
F is trading down 1.24% at $10.37 on Wednesday. The stock has been trading between $9.05 and $14.22 for the past 52 weeks.