Ford Motor Co. starts process of possible upgrade at Claycomo plant

By RANDOLPH HEASTER
The Kansas City Star

In a positive sign for the Claycomo plant’s future, Ford Motor Co. has sought to participate in a manufacturer’s incentive program recently enacted in Missouri.

Ford said it had submitted an intent application under the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act and is working with the state’s Department of Economic Development on its certification.

The move appears to be a first step in upgrading the Claycomo plant to allow it to build a new vehicle in the next couple of years.

Over the past year, local economic development and union officials had voiced concern that Ford had not decided on producing a new vehicle at Claycomo. They expect Ford to build its next-generation Escape SUV in Louisville, Ky.

Ford said the application was required by the legislation passed in July and could take up to six months to process.

“It’s part of the process we have to follow with the state in order to receive the incentive,” said company spokeswoman Marcey Evans. “It doesn’t signal anything specifically, other than it’s something we have to go through.”

Ford has nearly 4,000 workers at the Claycomo plant, building Escape SUVs on three shifts and operating one shift producing F-150 pickups.

The Missouri General Assembly passed the bill with hopes that it would give Ford further incentive to replace the outgoing Escape, which observers believe will end Claycomo production this time next year.

The law can give a manufacturer such as Ford up to $150 million in tax savings over 10 years if a facility is upgraded and retains jobs.

To reach Randolph Heaster, call 816-234-4746 or e-mail rheaster@kcstar.com.

Posted on Mon, Nov. 01, 2010 10:15 PM

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/11/01/2380484/ford-starts-process-of-possible.html#ixzz148NX3yq6

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