Ford Motor Company plans to manufacture its newly announced electric pickup trucks at a property in western Tennessee where state officials have long yearned for a major manufacturing tenant.
Representatives for Ford and Tennessee have announced that the company and South Korean battery company SK Innovation will move to the so-called Memphis regional megasite in Haywood County, west of Memphis. The companies will operate from 3,600 acres on the site.
The project is expected to directly create approximately 5,800 jobs at the site, as well as an additional 5,000 jobs at associated battery facilities in neighboring Kentucky. The investment estimated by Ford and SK Innovation is $ 5.6 billion in Tennessee and $ 5.8 billion in Kentucky.
“The ripple effect resulting from these projects will be transformational for our state, particularly western Tennessee, and we are very grateful for this huge investment and the addition of two great global brands,” Bob Rolfe, Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic Development. , said in a statement. âHaving a world-renowned US company as the first tenant of the Memphis regional megasite underscores the strength of the site and its potential for other partners and joint venture suppliers. “
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally acknowledged that the failure to attract a tenant to the site had been a long-term disappointment, âbut joined other heads of state in applauding the announcement.
In addition to assembling electric pickup trucks, battery factories will manufacture batteries for Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles; Ford believes that the market share of electric vehicles will continue to grow in the years to come.
The state of Tennessee offered $ 500 million in taxpayer incentives for the project, although the Tennessee General Assembly must approve the spending. Governor Bill Lee said he plans to convene a special session this fall to discuss the project. (Republicans in the legislature are calling for a separate special session to crack down on school districts that demand masks, and lawmakers could use Ford’s openness to push through unrelated priorities.)
In an interview with The Associated Press, Ford CEO Jim Farley said low electricity costs and the remoteness of natural disasters like hurricanes brought Ford to Tennessee, but a cold environment for the work organization relative to their traditional Midwestern home may also have played a role. Lee and other prominent Tennessee Republicans have been active in the campaign against unionization at the state’s auto manufacturing plants.
âWe love our UAW partners,â Farley told the AP. âThey have been amazing on this electrification journey so far. But it’s up to the employees to decide.