Divorces are rarely anything but messy, ugly events that see mud slinging and trash talking on both sides as litigation ramps up. Yet Ford and Mazda have managed to quietly part ways, despite a 25-year partnership that saw both brands benefit from shared platforms, engine technology and even a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan.
But at the end of August, Mazda produced its last car, a Mazda6 sedan, at the formerly-named Flat Rock AutoAlliance International plant. The Detroit News reports that the plant, which currently only builds the Ford Mustang, will now go by the simpler name, the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
Ford is planning to add up to 1,200 jobs to the newly-named Flat Rock plant as they shift production of the 2013 Fusion to facility. It will cost Ford $550 million to retool the plant, which currently only builds the new Mustang. The Mustang alone does not have the volume to sustain the 2.7 million square-foot Flat Rock facility, hence the inclusion of the Fusion model as well.
The plant was originally opened in 1972, but Ford closed it in 1981 as declining demand for V8 engines led to a serious reduction of building capacity. Mazda then bought the plant in 1987, and in 1992 Ford purchased a 50% stake in its own plant, solidifying an alliance between the two automakers.
With two of its most important models now consolidated at one plant. Ford is also including a new body shop that can quickly and easily be retooled for other vehicles. This will help with future flexibility, and for now it appears that the future of the Flat Rock plant is secure, and the Mustang won’t have to go it alone. That is good news for sure.