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Ford Michigan plant to get $550 million green face-lift

Former SUV and truck plant is being retooled to produce gas and battery-electric Focus models.

Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in city of Wayne. Ford Motor

Ford Motor plans to spend $550 million to retool its Michigan Assembly Plant so it will be capable of producingits new line of Ford Focus cars, the company announced Wednesday.

More than $160 million of the money Ford plans to invest in the Wayne, Mich.-based plant will come from tax credits and grants from the state of Michigan, Wayne County, and the city of Wayne.

The rebuilt plant, which Ford expects to support more than 3,000 jobs, will produce the new Ford Focus, and, eventually, the battery-electric version of Focus that the company plans to begin producing in 2011 for a 2012 release.

About 155 jobs will be salaried positions, and 3,180 jobs will be hourly worker positions at the Wayne location, according to Ford.

"This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles," Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.

The Michigan Assembly Plant (formerly known as the Michigan Truck Plant) originally opened in 1957 and has produced the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, as well as the Ford Bronco and Ford F-Series, according to Ford.

The Michigan change is part of Ford's plan to convert three of its North American plants so that it can introduce six small cars to the American market by the end of 2012. The other two plants undergoing renovation are the Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico, which will begin producing the Ford Fiesta in 2010, and the Louisville, Ky., plant, which will begin producing cars build with the Ford Focus platform starting in 2011.