Ford to Retool Michigan Assembly in May for Ranger, Bronco

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford Motor Co. will be temporarily laying off roughly 2,000 hourly employees at its Michigan Assembly and Stamping Plants in May so it can begin retooling the site’s facilities for production of the 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Ford Bronco. The location will be idled for roughly five months and Ford wants to make it very clear that these are temporary layoffs.

The automaker said in a notice in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that all affected employees will either return to the plant in October or transfer to another factory. Ford also said it would be ending production of the Focus sedan and C-Max on May 7th.

According to The Detroit News, which obtained a copy of the WARN filing, the official date for employees to return to work will be October 22nd. Employees with a year seniority will receive roughly 75 percent of their pay during the layoff period.

“This is a temporary measure as we undertake extensive retooling to transform the plant to build the Ford Ranger, followed by the Ford Bronco,” company spokeswoman Kelli Felker explained. “The affected employees all will return to work — either at Michigan Assembly or at another Ford facility.”

Ford announced that it would invest an additional $150 million at Michigan Assembly above investments negotiated as part of the 2015 United Auto Workers contract last year. Negotiated as a part of that contract was a $700 million investment to retool the plant for truck and SUV production.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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5 of 18 comments
  • Delta88 Delta88 on Mar 04, 2018

    I wonder when the Chinese made 2019 Focus will be revealed? And if its popularity will sink when people learn where it is made or if that is becoming irrelevant quickly.

  • Scout_Number_4 Scout_Number_4 on Mar 05, 2018

    Five months off, but still receive 75% of my pay? Where do I sign up?

    • Mikey Mikey on Mar 05, 2018

      "75% of my pay" I'm not sure of the exact language in the UAW- Ford collective agreement . I do know they arrive at that figure using a combination of Unemployment benefits, and negotiated Supplementary Unemployment Benefits (S.U.B).. The SUB benefit is subject to funding. As the fund diminishes so do the benefits. Only the very highest employees receive full SUB. The 75% percent is actually 75% of your normal "take home" pay. When that figure is determined then the tax man take his share. Not knowing the U.S. tax system , though I would be willing to bet the average Ford worker will probably need to eat somewhere around 35% of his/her regular pay.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Mar 05, 2018

    So back to work in October 2018, when will production actually start?

  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Mar 06, 2018

    With the news that the next Explorer will shift to FoMoCo's new modular RWD platform, hopefully that means the Bronco is more Ford Troller than Ford Everest.