Ford to add 1,200 workers at Claycomo plant - KCTV5

Ford to add 1,200 workers at Claycomo plant

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Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it's adding 1,200 workers and another shift to a Missouri plant that makes its new Transit van. Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it's adding 1,200 workers and another shift to a Missouri plant that makes its new Transit van.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) - Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it's adding 1,200 workers and another shift to a Missouri plant that makes its new Transit van.

The second shift will build more Transit vehicles - which are commercial vans - and more Ford F-150 trucks.

"Once we add the people by the end of this year and add that second shift of capacity, KC assembly will have the most manufacturing under one roof than any facility worldwide," said  Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.

The Transit arrived at dealerships in June, but so far only 2,085 have been sold through August, according to Autodata Corp. However, demand has been gradually increasing, and Ford expects it to continue to rise through the year. The automaker said it signed its first large fleet deal last month when cable television company Charter Communications ordered more than 800 of the vans.

Hinrichs touted the van as a "game-changer" in a news release.

The 1,200 workers already have been hired and are expected to start work in late November at the plant just outside Kansas City in Claycomo. The second shift of Transit workers will bring the number of hourly workers at the plant to more than 6,000, the largest manufacturing plant in the U.S.

The plant also has three crews making the F-150 pickup truck.

Once the new shift is on duty, the Claycomo facility will be making more vehicles per year than any other Ford plant in the world, spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said. The plant, which underwent a massive expansion in 2011 after receiving a state incentive package, will have the capacity to make 500,000 vehicles, also the highest number in the company, she said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who backed the automotive incentives, said in a written statement that the announcement "further cements Missouri's position as a leader in next-generation automotive manufacturing."

Nixon attended the announcement at the stamping facility Wednesday morning.

"It's no surprise that people want to buy what Missourians are building. Since those four tires of the Transit hit the record last year, we've seen a 22 percent surge in sales," Nixon said. "Those Transits are used to haul cargo and used as ambulances to save lives."

He said the new jobs are a sign of the changing U.S. economy.

"It's not a state-to-state thing, this is you all and all of us saying ‘America's coming back,'" Nixon said.

With the latest hires, Ford has added more than 14,000 jobs since 2011, allowing it to exceed a job-creation commitment to the United Auto Workers, the company said. Hinrichs said the job growth is a "testament" to its partnership with the union.

Just a few years ago, Ford workers lost their jobs as the company moved the manufacturing of the Escape SUV to a Kentucky plant. But then Ford announced last year it was launching the manufacturing of the Transit van, an economy-size cargo and utility van used in many company fleets and included an investment of over a billion dollars in upgrades.

KCTV's Heather Staggers and Laura McCallister provided reporting for this story, which was posted by Chris Oberholtz.

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