LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville could be on the verge of getting an economic boost from Ford. We have learned more information regarding reports that production of the Ford Escape SUV may move from a Missouri plant to the Louisville Assembly Plant.
The statement was made by Jeff Wright, president of United Auto Workers Local 249 in Missouri is not being confirmed or denied by Ford representatives. According to Wright, the automaker is going to stop making the Escape at the Claycomo Assembly Plant near Kansas City by the end of 2011 and shift production to the Louisville plant on Fern Valley Road.
Ford spokesperson John Stoll said details about their production plans are kept private. Stoll added that there are several steps in the process have to take place before a move like this would even happen.
"Our position on this future product, as far as next sourcing decisions, where it will be built, when it will, come...Our position, thus far, is not to comment on it because we are still very committed to the production footprint that we have," said Stoll during a phone interview.
Stoll said retooling efforts are already underway at LAP as the automaker prepares to move production of the Explorer SUV to Chicago by the end of 2010. WAVE 3 has confirmed from sources the move of the Explorer is to make room in Louisville for production of the Kuga, a smaller compact crossover SUV, currently made in Germany.
In Missouri, the report has put pressure on state lawmakers to pass tax incentives to keep the suburban Kansas City plant open and save close to 4,000 jobs. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered lawmakers to come back for a special session beginning June 24 during which lawmakers will be asked to consider millions in tax incentives and pension plan changes.
"I think we have a good chance of getting the new production in here if these incentives are passed," Wright said.
In a statement, Governor Steve Beshear told us:
"It's up to Ford to make announcements about their products. Ford is a great corporate citizen for our state and we will continue to work with ford to support their growth in Kentucky."