Ford’s (NYSE:F) Flat Rock plant will lie idle for two weeks longer than usual this summer, preparing for production of its midsize Fusion and, according to rumors, the next-generation Mustang. Sales of the all-new Fusion have soared 25 percent this year, and Ford is struggling to keep up with the increased demand. The company could also be attempting to breathe new life into its iconic pony car, the Mustang, whose sales have hit historic lows in the United States in recent years.
Nine years ago, the automaker moved Mustang production to the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Detroit, from Dearborn, Michigan. In those years, 1 million of the vehicles have rolled off assembly lines. Now, with an investment of $555 million, Ford is looking to expand the flexibility of that plant so it can take advantage of its increasing market share and growing demand in North America. In April, Ford reported its best quarter in more than a decade, thanks to the strength of its new models, and a 15 percent increase in first quarter-profit in its North American division.
Next year, the company is expected to begin churning out the next-generation Mustang — coinciding with the car’s 50th anniversary — and soon after it will prepare for production of the next-generation full-size Lincoln MKS, as union and supplier sources told The Detroit News. However, the automaker will not confirm its specific production plans, and it has yet to publicly acknowledge its plans to redesign the Mustang. Jim Tetreault, Ford’s vice president of North American manufacturing, did hint that changes at Flat Rock were underway during a telephone interview with that publication last week.