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Kentrucky: Ford Announces Investments in Kentucky, But It’s For More Than Super Duty Trucks

As part of the Ford+ plan for growth and value-creation, Ford Motor Company is investing $700 million in new investment and creating 500 additional hourly manufacturing jobs in Kentucky. This will support an all-new F-Series Super Duty pickup being built at Ford’s Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville. But, that’s not all the company is doing. Ford will be expanding its business to Kentucky with the BlueOval SK Battery Park. This new $5.8 billion battery production complex is projected to create 5,000 new jobs and provide power for Ford’s future electric vehicles.

Ford’s Truck Plant Expansion

“Ford is America’s No. 1 employer of hourly autoworkers, and our workforce in Kentucky makes some of the country’s most popular vehicles, including the F-Series Super Duty for both retail and Ford Pro commercial customers,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Ford Blue. “Ford has been growing in Kentucky since the days of the Model T, and we are continuing to invest in the Bluegrass State to produce great vehicles that our customers love and depend on.”

This increased investment in the state led the state’s governor to do something a little fun. In celebration of Ford’s investment in Kentucky and the all-new F-Series Super Duty’s reveal at Churchill Downs, Governor Andy Beshear declared today to be “KenTRUCKy Day.”

“The partnership between Kentucky and Ford goes back more than a century and is only becoming stronger,” Gov. Beshear said. “Today’s announcement is one of the largest investments ever in Jefferson County and will create hundreds of great jobs, including building the 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty Truck. Together with last year’s record-shattering electric vehicle battery plant announcement, Ford is building its future here in the commonwealth. We couldn’t be more proud and look forward to many more decades of success for this iconic American company here in Kentucky.”

The Ford Motor Company assembles more vehicles in the United States than any other automaker and produced nearly $40 billion in revenue from its F-Series pickup franchise last year. This figure is greater than the combined global revenue of Coca-Cola and Starbucks. In fact, the Super Duty subseries of pickups generates more income for Ford than major companies such as Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, or Nordstrom earn in total.

“UAW Local 862 members are proud to be a part of the F-Series Super Duty’s success both today and tomorrow,” said UAW President Ray Curry. “We celebrate this $700 million investment into Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant, as it shows that UAW members continue to play an important role in Ford’s future.”

Kentucky is home to more than 12,000 Ford employees and supports nearly 120,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as a $11.8 billion state GDP contribution.

“Advanced manufacturing continues to drive significant economic growth in Louisville,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Built upon a rich manufacturing history, Louisville has developed a strong foundation of support that allows us to meet manufacturers’ workforce and growth needs and has led manufacturing companies to invest more than $5.2 billion in our city and create more than 10,000 new jobs since 2014. We are excited to add today’s announcement to those growing numbers. Thank you to Ford for remaining committed to Louisville for nearly 110 years and continuing to invest in and grow its local operations and workforce.”

The all-new 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty is the company’s 45th year of offering the best-selling pickup in America, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Super Duty. With unrivaled levels of productivity, original technology, and a collection of cloud-based services for new levels of productivity, the next-generation Super Duty takes America’s most trusted heavy-duty truck to new heights.

EV Battery Plant Expansion

Ford is expanding its business with the BlueOval SK Battery Park, a new battery manufacturing complex that will cost $5.8 billion and cover 1,500 acres. The joint venture with SK On will create approximately 5,000 jobs. This expansion allows Ford to produce next-generation electric vehicles for both the Ford and Lincoln brands.

This was announced last year, but interestingly enough, Ford felt that it deserved a mention in its press release that mostly focused on trucks. I’m going to speculate on that more in a bit, but first, let’s look at the plans for the plant.

In Kentucky’s center, Ford is planning a dedicated battery manufacturing facility with SK Innovation at the $5.8 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park – which will create 5,000 new jobs – to produce next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Twin battery plants on the premises are designed to supply locally manufactured batteries for future generations of electric Ford and Lincoln cars produced in North America at Ford’s North American manufacturing facilities. A new joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation called BlueOvalSK is planned to finance investments in Tennessee and Kentucky battery factories subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals, and other conditions.

“This is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing,” said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford last year. “With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive – protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

The plant is part of a larger effort that includes the recently-announced Blue Oval City that focuses on electric vehicles in an ever larger way.

Why Did Ford Mention This When It Was Revealing The Next-Gen Super Duty?

The obvious answer is that the truck announcement and the plant are both in Kentucky. Between the lines, it seems like a good idea to mention something clean to keep Ford’s environmental image up when releasing big trucks with no electrification plans at this point.

But, there’s probably more to it than that.

It would be very unusual to release a new truck in 2022 without some built-in plans to offer an F-250 or F-350 Lightning. This wouldn’t be immediately evident in the announced Super Duty, because it’s a body-on-frame truck. But, so are the F-150 gassers and F-150 Lightning, and they were able to basically put a different frame under the truck with support for batteries and electric motors. So, Ford can electrify the Super Duty without a complete redesign if it chooses to do that during this new generation.

I think this may be a subtle signal that Ford intendss to announce an electric version of the Super Duty at some point, but it will probably be some time before we see it actually happen.

Featured image: In central Kentucky, Ford plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with SK Innovation – the $5.8 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park – creating 5,000 jobs. Twin battery plants on the site are intended to supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries for powering next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Concept designs. Final design subject to change. Image provided by Ford.

 
 
 
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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals. Follow her on Twitter for her latest articles and other random things: https://twitter.com/JenniferSensiba

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