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Published: Wednesday, 7/30/2008

Ford to add 200 jobs to Lima plant

BLADE STAFF

LIMA Ford Motor Corp. will add more than 200 new jobs to its 50-year-old engine plant in Lima as it ramps up production of sedans and crossovers like the Edge and Flex.

Plans call for the plant to begin producing D35 engines for the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker in the fourth quarter. Ford spokesman Angie Kozleski said the new jobs would first be offered to laid off workers from other Ford plants.

"We re working through the details right now, but expect our plans to be in place in the fourth quarter," Ms. Kozleski said. "We do have an excess workforce right now. We are offering buyouts to employees in many locations, so we ll pull employees from other plants to add to this location."

The plant will build two engines, a 3.5L V6 for the Ford Edge and Taurus and the Lincoln MKY and MKZ, and a 3.7L V6s for the new Ford Flex and Lincoln MKS crossovers.

Currently, the 2.4 million square-foot plant produces Ford s Duratech 35 and Vulcan V6 engines.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved a seven-year, 60 percent tax credit for the automaker to add 219 new full-time jobs on a third shift at its engine plant in Allen County s Bath Township.

Built in the mid-1950s, the Lima Engine plant originally produced V8 engines for the Ford Edsel. It currently employs more than 750 people.

According to the Ohio Department of Development, the new jobs would have an average wage of $25 per hour.

A spokesman for United Auto Workers Local 1219, which represents hourly workers at the plant, could not be reached for comment.

The plant won the additional work despite its productivity dropping 34 percent during 2007 to an average of 4.03 hours-per-engine, according to respected industry analyst Ron Harbour, whose annual Harbour report measuring auto industry productivity was released last month.



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