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Ford Motor Co. will invest $130 million in its Avon Lake, Ohio, plant to shift production of full-size vans from a factory in nearby Lorain that will close late next year.

The Avon Lake factory builds and paints bodies of Ford’s Econoline and Club Wagon vans that are then moved to Lorain for final assembly.

Ford negotiated the closing of the Lorain plant during contract talks last year with the United Auto Workers union. The automaker wants to reduce North American manufacturing capacity to better match consumer demand. The 1,200 workers at the Lorain factory will be offered jobs at other Ford plants.

After it is retooled, the Avon Lake plant will end output of the Ford Escape sport utility vehicle and the new Mercury Mariner SUV, a derivative of the Escape that goes into production this summer. In 2006, Escape and Mariner production will be consolidated at a Kansas City, Mo., plant.

With a maximum annual capacity of 271,000 SUVs, the Kansas City plant can accommodate more production, said Ford spokeswoman Francine Romine. Last year, the plant built just under 168,000 units.

Kansas City will also build the 2005 Escape Hybrid, due on the market this summer.

Workers and union leaders are disappointed to see the popular Escape leave the Avon Lake plant.

“We have to stay optimistic and continue building the best product we can,” said Joe Hribar, secretary of UAW Local 2000, which represents about 2,000 workers at Avon Lake.

The manufacturing moves are part of Ford’s revitalization plan.

The Lorain plant will be the last North American factory to close under Ford’s latest restructuring. A plant in Edison, N.J., closed earlier this year and a pickup truck factory near Toronto will close next month.

Full Story HERE
 

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ok heres what i think ford should do is build the escape til the end of the existance of building the escape at the old plant and start a new platform when the move the production to the new factory because the escape look is kinda gettin old and annoying to see a miniature version of the explorer...just build it to meet most of the customers whats and what they look for in a smaller suv aka buick rendezvous..the buick rendezvous is a nice riding suv and i think its one of the most unique suvs or crossovers ive seen unlike nissans and infinits fugly crossovers GOD WHAT IN THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING THATS AS BAD AS THE AZTEK and people buy em because it says INFINITI AND NISSAN..woopdy do if it says INFINITI name who cares i think the Aztek looks better than those things and im not a fan of the aztek...if pontiac built the aztek to the concept version and made it look almost 100% like the concept they mightve had better sales but oh well
 
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