Business First – by Steve Ivey , Staff Writer
Date: Monday, January 10, 2011, 1:29pm EST – Last Modified: Monday, January 10, 2011, 3:28pm EST
Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Vertrek, the next-generation sport utility vehicle to be built in Louisville.
The Vertrek replaces the Escape in the United States and the Kuga in Europe.
Ford officials in December announced their plans to spend $600 million to renovate the Louisville Assembly Plant during the next year and add a second shift and 1,800 employees to the current work force of 1,100.
At the North American Auto Show in Detroit, Ford officials said the new Vertrek will be built on its “C-Car” platform, the same platform used for as many as 10 Ford models. Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant will be equipped with flexible machinery to allow the automaker to assembly any of the C-Car models, depending on market demand.
A new C-MAX crossover vehicle also was unveiled Monday that will be produced on the C-Car platform, but that vehicle initially will be manufactured at a plant in Michigan.
According to the release, the Vertrek will be at least 5 percent more aerodynamically efficient than the Escape. It also will come with fuel-efficiency measures such as EcoBoost, which helps deliver fuel-economy gains of as much as 20 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 15 percent, and automatic shut-off, which shuts down the engine when the vehicle is idle and quickly restarts it when the driver is ready to move.
“The Ford Vertrek concept is inspired by contemporary compact sport utility customers’ expectations and aspirations,” J. Mays, Ford’s group vice president for design and chief creative officer, said in the release. “It unites stylish design, world-class craftsmanship and outstanding capability to present a fresh vision that we believe will resonate globally.”
Also Monday, Ford announced that it will add 7,000 hourly and salaried jobs in 2011 and 2012 in the United States. This year, Ford plans to add 4,000 hourly jobs at U.S. plants, including the 1,800 at Louisville Assembly Plant.