When Ford is ready to put its first self-driving vehicles on the road, they are going to leave an assembly plant in Michigan. The automaker claims that part of its $900 million investment plan includes a new facility close to Detroit where it plans to assemble autonomous vehicles beginning in 2021.
Employees at the new plant are going to be asked to install self-driving components on the cars and install unique interiors because the test vehicles are going to be built on the automaker’s commercial-grade hybrid. Ford plans to focus on a utilitarian design for the first self-driving cars and is targeting other companies instead than selling directly to its customers.
Ford is putting more focus on its self-driving car operations the past year. Last summer, it put in $4 billion of its own money into the operation, which is being called FordAutonomous Vehicles LLC. It announced that the operations are going to be headquartered at the multi-story, long-abandoned train station that sits in Detroit in the Corktown neighborhood. VW is also planning to invest about $2 billion in Ford’s self-driving vehicle business, as the two automakers hope to expand and create a loose partnership to long-range products rather than commercial pickup trucks and cars.
While Ford is primarily focused on self-driving car production, the investment it made is also going to help its new electric cars, which are being assembled at the Flat Rock plant in Michigan. In total, $850 million is planned to be funneled into the Flat Rock facility, which should add 900 more jobs and add a second shift for employees. Along with such, the investment also covers funding for the next-generation Mustang, as well.
Ford has put millions of dollars into its goal to have self-driving cars produced at a Michigan assembly plant by 2021.