Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday it will invest $1.2 billion to build a second data center and prepare two factories for the production of the new Bronco and Ranger vehicles.
The announcement, the second in recent months focused on jobs and factories in the U.S., brings Ford’s investment into Michigan to $1.9 billion so far this year.
The automaker says it will invest $850 million to retool the Michigan Assembly Plant to begin building the Ranger at the end of 2018 and the Bronco in 2020. The work to transform the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., begins in May 2018. It will take four weeks to remove and reinstall the tooling necessary to build the all-new Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco.
Ford also says it plans to create or retain 130 jobs and invest $150 million to expand capacity for engine components for several vehicles, including Ranger and Bronco, at the Romeo Engine Plant in Michigan.
Ford announced in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it would bring back the Bronco, a popular mid-size SUV and the Ranger, a mid-size pickup truck. The Bronco was first produced in 1966 and its production run ended in 1996.
Another $200 million will be spent on an advanced data center to support the company’s transition from a traditional automaker to a mobility company that offers unconventional means of getting from Point A to Point B, including on-demand shuttles and autonomous taxis.
It is the second of two new data centers Ford is building in Michigan. Ford says it expects its data usage to increase 1,000% as an increasing percentage of vehicles are equipped with wireless Internet that can deliver more services to drivers and passengers.
The second new data center will be located at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, the same factory that Ford has already announced it would invest $700 million (and add 700 direct new jobs) to prepare the facility to produce electrified and autonomous vehicles.
“At Ford, we are investing aggressively in building on our strengths today—including trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles and SUVs—while at the same time growing our leadership in electrification, autonomy and mobility services,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of the Americas, said in a prepared statement. “As America’s top producer of automobiles, we are proud to be going even further in our commitment to invest in manufacturing here at home.”