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Ford selects Mid-South regional site for $5.6B manufacturing plant

Ford selects Memphis regional site for $5.6B manufacturing plant
Ford selects Memphis regional site for $5.6B manufacturing plant(Source: WMC)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 12:50 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:53 AM EDT
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HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - The Ford Motor Company is bringing thousands of jobs to the Mid-South.

After sitting vacant for 12 years, the state-owned “megasite” in Haywood County, Tennessee will finally have an occupant.

Ford and South Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation are teaming up to build several, new state-of-the-art factories in the U.S. They’re ramping up production of electric vehicles. Ford is ready to revolutionize the industry with the help of workers from the Memphis area.

Ford Motor Company is driving full speed into the future of electric cars and is ready to build an EV factory in West Tennessee.

“It’s the biggest investment the state of Tennessee has seen, and it’s in West Tennessee, right here in the Memphis region,” said Beverly Robertson, president and CEO of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce. “We can’t hold our excitement about 6,000 jobs and a $5.6 billion investment.”

Ford announced Monday the company wants to build an F-150 EV plant at the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County, about a 50-minute drive from downtown Memphis.

“Of course it’s risky,” said Bill Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford and current chairman of the 118-year-old automaker. “Anytime you bet on the future, it’s by definition risky. But I think it’s a bet I’d make any day of the week because electrification is coming. The battery industry is coming to America and we just want to be at the forefront.”

“What is most exciting is that these are going to be high-quality jobs. It will do a lot to uplift the community,” said Robertson.

Robertson said job training will be key.

“Most importantly, we’ve got to prepare this generation coming out of high school and work with Shelby County Schools to get them ready,” she said.

Robertson says government leaders and local colleges will work together to create job training programs for the young, and upskill opportunities for older workers.

Ford already has a relationship with Memphis. It operated a facility on Union Avenue in the early part of the 20th century, producing wooden parts for the 1913 Model-T. That plant closed after Ford opened a larger factory on Riverside Drive in 1924. That location remained open for decades. In fact, the Kansas-Riverside neighborhood in South Memphis developed during that plant’s heyday.

And now, a new era is about to begin.

“This is a watershed moment for Tennesseans as we lead the future of the automotive industry and advanced manufacturing,” said Governor Bill Lee.

The electric version of Ford’s best-selling vehicle won’t just be Made in America. The electric version of the F-150 will be made in the Mid-South

“As I talked to them today, they said they looked all over the country, but their favorite spot was right here, close to Memphis, Tennessee,” said Robertson.

The facility in Haywood County will be called “Blue Oval City,” named for the blue oval in Ford’s logo. Look for a formal announcement from Lee and officials Tuesday in Memphis.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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