WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Norm Coleman announced plans Wednesday to travel to Detroit to urge Ford Motor Co. to scrap plans to close the company's St. Paul plant.
The Minnesota Republican also made the appeal in a letter he sent Wednesday to Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally. The plant, which Ford says employs 1,060 people, is scheduled to close next year when production of the U.S. version of the Ford Ranger is expected to end.
''The Twin Cities assembly plant has a strong history of producing light, fuel-efficient vehicles that are now in high demand due to the escalating price of gasoline,'' Coleman wrote, ''and I encourage you to consider a long-term mission for this plant that utilizes its contributions to the international automobile market.''
Coleman, a former St. Paul mayor, noted that sales of Ranger have increased this year over the same period last year. And he argued that Minnesota is ''the perfect environment for the manufacture of light trucks and flex-fuel automobiles,'' given the ethanol plants and E-85 pumps located in the state.
Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said that the company ''welcomes the interest of government officials. We will review the letter when we receive it.''
But she noted that company's current plans are to close the plant in the third quarter of next year.
Coleman plans to travel to Detroit for the meeting in the next couple of weeks, said his spokesman, LeRoy Coleman.