Ford Motor (F) said Friday it plans to offer permanent positions to 500 temporary workers at a plant in Germany that will build the next-generation Focus compact car, which begins production next month.
Situated in the city of Saarlouis, the plant will be the only supplier of the new Focus model to the Western European market, Ford said in a written statement. The 500 workers, currently employed on agency contracts, have been working since mid-November to prepare the plant, which will start new-car assembly Dec. 6.
In the U.S., Ford's Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., is also being readied to produce the new model. Sedan and hatchback versions of the Focus will be sold in both markets, but only Europe will get a wagon variation, Ford said.
The automaker plans to expand Focus production to its plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, by the middle of next year, and to the Asia Pacific region in early 2012, when Ford's Chongqing plant in China comes on line.
The Saarlouis plant, opened in 1970, employs more than 6,500 workers, Ford said. It built its 12 millionth vehicle, a white Ford Focus, in August.
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