Ford Invests $128M To Shift Mexican Jobs To Ohio

AVON LAKE, Ohio (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday its $128 million investment at a northeast Ohio plant will protect its nearly 2,000 jobs while shifting medium-duty truck production from Mexico.

The automaker will retool the Ohio Assembly Plant, located west of Cleveland, after ending production of Econoline vans in 2013, said Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing.

Truck production will be moved from a joint venture with Navistar International Corp. in General Escobedo, Mexico, near Monterrey.

Gov. John Kasich said the state's incentive package valued at $15 million will be recouped within a year with higher tax collections.

"What's a better Christmas present than hearing about this," Kasich said. He said Ford's announcement showed a positive trend for manufacturing.

The manufacturing sector has grown for 28 straight months, according to a survey released last week by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers.

Ozzie Figueroa, 45, of Lorain, who works in the Ford plant's paint shop, said the announcement was welcome because of the long-term employment prospects it offered.

"I've got kids in college," said Figueroa, who was snapping photos for his union newsletter. "I've got to keep working to provide."

The way was cleared for the production shift when members of the United Auto Workers approved a new contract giving up annual pay raises for most workers but replacing them with profit sharing and signing bonuses.