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This file photo shows technicians working at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant in Livonia, Mich. On Friday, Ford Motor Co. said it would invest $350 million into the suburban Detroit plant. (Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press)
This file photo shows technicians working at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant in Livonia, Mich. On Friday, Ford Motor Co. said it would invest $350 million into the suburban Detroit plant. (Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press)

Ford to invest $350-million in Michigan transmission plant Add to ...

Ford Motor Co. said Friday it would invest $350-million (U.S.) to upgrade its Livonia transmission plant in Michigan as the company expands its lineup of powertrains.

The investment is part of the company’s previously disclosed commitment to invest $9-billion and create or retain 8,500 hourly jobs in its U.S. facilities in the next few years.

Last year, the No. 2 U.S. auto maker announced it was investing a separate $1.4-billion in the Livonia transmission plant near Detroit. The company said on Friday employment at the Livonia plant has risen from about 1,550 last year to 1,800. The company did not say how many additional jobs it will add.

The auto maker announced earlier this week it was cutting 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia as it looks to boost its sagging stock price. The company plans to cut $3-billion in costs.

But Ford said it is not cutting its hourly work force or production. Auto makers have been under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to add jobs or build U.S. new plants.

Ford has invested $12-billion in its U.S. plants and created nearly 28,000 U.S. jobs during the past five years.

The company continues to churn out strong profits, reporting a record $10.4-billion in pretax earnings in 2016 and expects to earn about $9-billion this year.

But it is under pressure to boost its stock price. Ford shares are down nearly 40 per cent since Mark Fields took over as chief executive officer in July, 2014, and closed at a nearly four-and-half-year low earlier this week.

Ford shares rose 1 per cent in trading on Friday.

The auto maker is offering financial incentives, including generous early retirement offers, to encourage salaried employees to depart voluntarily by the end of September. Investors are worried about slowing sales and an industry that could be dominated by autonomous vehicles and car sharing in the future.

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