November 21, 2014

Partly sunny

New Ford F-750 to be built at Avon Lake plant


The new F-750, which will be built at the Ohio Assembly Plant, was unveiled on Friday. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

AVON LAKE — Ford Motor Co. officials on Friday unveiled the new F-750, which will be built at the Ohio Assembly Plant early next year.

The big reveal took place at the Avon Lake plant in front of employees, Ford and union leadership, and state and local officials.

“We said we wanted to invest here and continue building a strong, bright future for our employees. That future starts today,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.

Ford officials have been planning for production of the F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks at the plant since 2011, when a deal was made between the company and the United Auto Workers union. On Friday, Ford announced that the company is moving forward with that plan.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor climbs down after checking out the new Ford F-750 during an unveiling at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor climbs down after checking out the new Ford F-750 during an unveiling at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

As part of the deal, Ford will shift production of the 2016 Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks from Mexico to the Avon Lake plant. Ford officials announced that $168 million will be invested into retooling the plant for production.

The trucks will be completely designed and built by Ford with a Ford powertrain and engine.

The engine is paired with a commercial-grade six-speed 6R140 automatic transmission with an available power takeoff provision to run accessories, a dump body, crane and other vocational equipment.

Ford remains the only automaker to offer a gasoline engine for medium-duty trucks, according to the company. The 6.8-liter V-10 is available for both F-650 and F-750 models.

“You get to build the biggest, baddest truck we make,” Hinrichs said to employees, after unveiling the F-750 at the plant.

Both vehicles were initially shown at an auto show in Indianapolis with favorable results, Hinrichs said.

In addition to the F-650 and F-750, the plant will continue to work on the E-Series cutaways, as well as ambulance, motor home and stripped chassis. Hinrichs said the economy and whether plant workers are able to work well as a team will determine future production at the plant.

In January, Ford announced plans to lay off more than 900 workers at the Ohio Assembly Plant, but a plan with the UAW saved 1,408 of the 1,605 employees there. Under the agreement, the Ohio Assembly Plant will provide rotating shift opportunities in two-week cycles.

The rotation would begin during retooling of the plant for the new product line, as Ford balances out E-Series van production at the plant in favor of the new Transit van, which will be produced at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant.

UAW Local 2000 Chairman Tim Rowe said the future looked bleak for the Ohio Assembly Plant in 2011, but he is optimistic after securing production of the F-650 and F-750. Rowe said studies into bringing new product lines to the Avon Lake plant are underway, and those studies are “going well.”

UAW Regional 2B Director Ken Lortz, who visited the plant for Friday’s announcement, said Ford’s investment in the Avon Lake plant shows that it will have a bright future.

“If there’s a comeback story, I think it’s (the Avon Lake plant),” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • toolman50

    While this is good news that Ford is bringing a new product to the plant and not closing it, the loss of 900 jobs still remains. The production of the F-650/750 will not replace the volume of the E-Series van that is to be phased out in June, thus fewer workers will be needed. Currently there are buy-out packages for senior workers and transfer opportunities (Lima, Cleveland, Chicago) to lessen the layoff that will happen next spring. As far as the rotating shifts beginning in August, (work 2 wks, off 2 wks) this will create cash flow problems for the workers while they wait for unemployment and sub-pay benefits. With production of only the E-Series cutaway continuing after June, I doubt if there will be any overtime during the retooling period and launch of the new unit. Something is better than nothing.

    • Bob Owens

      So why don’t we just leave the production in Mexico? Sheesh! Cash flow problems are tough, no job is even tougher.

  • toolman50

    Bob, I think you misunderstood my post. Everyone knew as far back as the last national contract in 2011 between Ford and the UAW that this vehicle was coming here, it’s no big surprise. Ford wanted to separate from Navistar who they had a joint venture with to produce the F-650/750 down in Mexico and wanted full control of the design, engineering, assembly, and profits. That’s why they are moving it up here. I stated that this was good news versus closing the plant. My point is the job loss that will take place here by next spring. Ford spent over $1B retooling Kansas City and hiring many people to produce the new Transit van that will replace the E-Series van made here, while investing only $168M at Ohio Assembly and cutting the workforce. Talk to some of the workers when the 2 on/2 off work schedule begins. If they have a financial cushion, they’ll have a 2wk paid vacation every month, if they don’t (more likely) there will be hardships for those over-extended.

  • John Davidson

    Wow, This should take care of all the problems in the county. I am sure that all the workers will vote to raise taxes and help get the cities and county back on their feet. Yeh right.

  • susan hill brown

    Why couldn’t the Avon Lake stay as it has been and have the F-650 and F-750 produced where they are transferring the van production to?

  • John Caliendo

    Piss on avon lake. The town is an armpit run by dipsi7s. Best thing that could happen is if it was to fall into lake erie!!

    • Jason M. Schmidt

      Random comment on a seven month old story. Bitter?