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Old 01-20-2005, 13:23   #1 (permalink)
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Mexico:Ford to invest $1.2 billion in Mexico plant

Ford to invest $1.2 billion in Mexico plant

Reuters

MEXICO CITY -- Ford Motor Co. said on Thursday it will invest $1.2 billion to develop an industrial park at its Hermosillo plant in northern Mexico, the automaker's most important project in the world this year.

Marcos de Oliveira, chief executive of Ford's Mexican unit, told reporters the plan is to convert its Hermosillo factory into one of the company's first "convertible plants" in the world, capable of making different models at the same time.

The company expects suppliers to pitch in an additional $500 million to open shop inside the industrial park in the project, which is expected to be ready in the second half of this year.

"It is expected that the whole project generates around 20,000 direct and indirect jobs," de Oliveira said. "This is going to have a very important economic impact for (the state of Sonora) and for Mexico."

De Oliveira said the project came as Ford's output in Mexico was set to rise. "Between 2005 and 2007, production volumes are going to rise considerably, from the second half of this year," he said.

"It is the most important project in 2005 for Ford all around the world," said De Oliveira.

Ford, like other carmakers with plants in Mexico, struggled against declining output in recent years, with waning demand for cars and trucks in the United States, Mexico's largest export market.

Last year, Ford produced 107,804 units in Mexico, 25 percent less than in 2003. Exports fell 34 percent to 70,200 vehicles, according to latest industry figures.
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