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Ford Motor Co. has finalized a $500 million-a-year deal with seatmaker Bridgewater Interiors LLC, making it possibly the most lucrative business contract ever awarded to a minority-owned company, according to Ford.

The automaker will detail the agreement today at a ceremony marking the opening of a new Bridgewater plant in Warren, where the seats will be produced.

The deal is creating 600 high-paying jobs in Metro Detroit at a time when Michigan is losing manufacturing jobs. It also could raise the bar for other auto manufacturers who are under pressure to buy parts and services produced by minority-owned businesses.

Ford said its research failed to uncover a larger business contract involving a minority-owned U.S. company, automotive or otherwise.

“The good news is that (Bridgewater) has earned this business,” said Tony Brown, Ford’s vice president of global purchasing. “It’s not a function of just spending dollars with minority businesses.”

Bridgewater’s Warren plant will build seats for three popular Ford vehicles: F-150 pickups, which will be manufactured at Ford’s new Dearborn Truck plant in the Rouge complex, along with the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs produced at the Michigan Truck assembly plant in Wayne.

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