Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 8:35 AM
THE BLADE. By LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Ford Motor Corp. will add more than 200 jobs to its 50-year-old engine plant in Lima as it ramps up production of sedans and crossovers like the Edge and Flex.
Plans call for the plant to begin producing so-called D35 engines for the Dearborn, Mich., automaker in the fourth quarter. Ford spokesman Angie Kozleski said the jobs would be offered first to workers laid off from other Ford plants. "We're working through the details right now but expect our plans to be in place in the fourth quarter," she said. "We do have an excess work force right now. We are offering buyouts to employees in many locations, so we'll pull employees from other plants to add to this location." The plant will build two engines, a 3.5-liter V6 for the Ford Edge and Taurus and the Lincoln MKZ and upcoming MKY, and a 3.7-liter V6 for the new Ford Flex and Lincoln MKS crossovers. Currently, the 2.4 million-square-foot plant produces Ford's Duratech 35 and Vulcan V6 engines.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved a seven-year, 60 percent tax credit for the automaker to add 219 full-time jobs on a third shift at its engine plant in Allen County's Bath Township. Built in the mid-1950s, the plant originally produced V8 engines for the Ford Edsel. It currently has more than 750 employees. According to the Ohio Department of Development, the new jobs would have an average wage of $25 an hour. A spokesman for United Auto Workers Local 1219, which represents hourly workers at the plant, could not be reached for comment.
The plant won the additional work despite its productivity dropping 34 percent during 2007 to an average of 4.03 hours per engine, according to respected industry analyst Ron Harbour, whose annual Harbour report measuring auto industry productivity was released last month.