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Ford Investment In Ohio Plants Boosts Midwest Car Manufacturing

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an engine for job growth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Yeah. That's a joke. But it's also true. Ford Motor Company says it is investing more than half a billion dollars in upgrading an Ohio engine plant. Earlier this month, the company announced it is shifting production of some truck models to the Buckeye State from Mexico. And today, Ford says it will create 300 jobs more in Ohio.

Nick Castele, of member station WCPN, reports.

NICK CASTELE, BYLINE: Ford and the United Auto Workers set the table for this move when negotiating a new contract three years ago. Ford pledged to invest $16 billion in U.S. operations by 2015.

The company is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into two plants in the Cleveland area, and will make new, more gas-efficient engines for the F150 in Lima, Ohio.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of The Americas, says it makes a lot of sense to expand here.

JOE HINRICHS: If we have an engine plant in Lima supporting a truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, you know, it's a couple hours away, so logistics cost, inventory, you know, is minimized.

CASTELE: Also attractive for Ford are tax credits that Ohio has offered. State officials say the company will invest almost $1 billion here as part of the deal.

Cleveland State University professor Ned Hill says after the economic crisis devastated the auto industry throughout the Great Lakes, car companies are now rebuilding Midwestern supply chains.

NED HILL: It's reinforcing Ohio's position as an engine state, because we make a lot of engines here, between Honda and Ford.

CASTELE: Hill says while the recovery is still slow, this is another sign that in the Midwest, car manufacturing is coming back.

For NPR News, I'm Nick Castele in Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: March 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous Web introduction to this story incorrectly stated that Ford was investing $500,000 in an Ohio plant. It is investing $500 million.