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Ford adding 550 jobs at Kentucky plant due to 'surging' SUV demand

By
Clyde Hughes
A Ford employee assembles sport-utility vehicles at the automaker's assembly plant in Chicago, Ill. The company said Tuesday it's adding 550 jobs to its Kentucky plant to meet rising demand for its large Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
A Ford employee assembles sport-utility vehicles at the automaker's assembly plant in Chicago, Ill. The company said Tuesday it's adding 550 jobs to its Kentucky plant to meet rising demand for its large Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

March 19 (UPI) -- Just days after Ford Motor Co. said it's cutting thousands of jobs in Europe, the American automaker said Tuesday it's adding more than 500 at a truck plant in Kentucky.

The auto giant said it will add 550 jobs to the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville to meet "surging" demand for its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicles.

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The new jobs are part of a 20 percent increase in production for the SUVs this summer, Ford said.

Retail sales of the Expedition climbed 35 percent and gained 5.6 percentage points in market segment share last year, the automaker said in a statement Tuesday. Over the same time, Navigator sales grew 70 percent to nearly 18,000 -- its best sales year in more than a decade.

"Kentucky Truck Plant is home to two of Ford and Lincoln's most successful vehicles," Ford Vice President John Savona said. "After seeing a continued increase in customer demand for Expedition and Navigator, we are boosting production for a second time to meet it."

While Ford increases production in Kentucky, it's cutting in other locations. The company said last week it would cut 5,000 jobs in Germany and an unspecified number in Britain.

To meet the cuts, Ford said it's offering voluntary separation packages in those countries as part of an $11 billion restructuring strategy for its struggling European operations. The automaker aims to reduce its vehicle lineup to its commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles and imports.

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