Ford opens a new era at Flat Rock Assembly Plant

Article by Christian A., on September 12, 2012

Since Mazda has now ceased to be its partner, Ford Motor Co. has renamed the AutoAlliance International factory that they once shared. The factory located in Flat Rock, Michigan, will now be known as the Flat Rock Assembly. Furthermore, Ford is planning to start the production of the 2013 Ford Fusion sedan at the plant.

Mazda has recently withdrawn from the factory and has transferred Mazda 6 production to Japan. This means that Ford may assume a bigger area of the plant space, offering additional capacity to produce the new Fusion. Ford also builds the 2013 Fusion at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. For the production of the 2013 Ford Fusion, the automaker will hire 1200 new workers and will invest $555 million in Flat Rock Assembly.

As part of the investment, Ford will open a new flexible body shop that could make numerous different vehicle types. It also aims to adopt a paint process that’s more environmentally friendly. Ford intends to create 2,900 jobs at the plant. The 2013 Ford Fusion is offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions as well as three traditional gasoline powertrains. There were rumors that the 2013 Ford Fusion will have a fuel economy rating of up to 25/37 mpg (city/highway) as it is powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine.

Meanwhile, the Fusion hybrid is capable of returning 47/47 mpg. So far, Ford hasn’t confirmed these figures yet. From 1972 to 1981, Ford had been operating a casting center at Flat Rock, Michigan. When this was shut, the plant became idle for a few years. In 1987, Mazda bought and revamped the 2.9 million square-foot plant where it intended to build the MX-6.

In 1992, Ford purchased a 50% share in the facility. It had been renamed to AutoAlliance International. Later, Ford produced the Ford Probe and Mercury Cougar in the plant. Starting in 2005, Flat Rock functioned as the main assembly location for the Ford Mustang. It should be noted that Flat Rock Assembly will continue to roll out the Ford Mustang beside the recently added Fusion.

Ford has designed the new Fusion to deliver fuel economy figures that dominate its class, whether it is powered by a gasoline engine, a hybrid unit or a plug-in hybrid system. This fact confirms the carmaker’s commitment to become the leader or one of the leaders in terms of fuel efficiency every time it introduces a new model.

Customers seeking to purchase a Ford Fusion could take delight in the fact that it has the widest lineup of powertrains in the mid-size car segment. Aside from two EcoBoost four-cylinder engines and a normally aspirated four-cylinder powerplant, the Fusion could also be powered by a hybrid unit or plug-in hybrid system. These powertrains are supported by certain technologies like an automatic start stop feature, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems, as well as automatic and manual six-speed gearboxes.

One of the available EcoBoost four-cylinder engines is the 1.6-liter EcoBoost, which could deliver estimated fuel economy figures of 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. A more powerful version is available -- 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that sends power to all wheels through a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. This version could transmit torque to the rear wheels when needed. This version also comes available with optional 19-inch wheels and tires.

On the other hand, the Fusion Hybrid has never failed to impress even in its newest form. It is powered by new lithium-ion batteries that aren’t only lighter but are also more powerful than nickel-metal hydride batteries. These batteries also allow the Fusion Hybrid to go faster when in all-electric mode, from top speed of 47 mph to 62 mph.

Topics: ford, plant, ford fusion

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