Ford pledges $5.6 billion investment in Memphis

Sandra ClarkOpinion

Ford Motor Company will produce electric F-series trucks and the batteries to power them at the Memphis Regional Megasite. The announcement came Monday from Gov. Bill Lee. He called it “a watershed moment for Tennesseans.”

Lee and others will join executives from Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation in Memphis today (9/28) to provide details about the multi-year project, which is estimated to cost $5.6 billion.

Gov. Bill Lee

On NBC Nightly News Monday, Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford the auto industry is “on the cusp of a revolution.” He said his great-grandfather, Ford founder Henry Ford, would have recognized the industry five years ago. “There were a lot of evolutions, but no revolutions.”

The change from gas-powered to electric cars and trucks is that revolution.

And Ford Motor Company is leading the way. Its total investment, announced Monday, is $11.4 billion on new production sites in Tennessee and Kentucky. The company expects to create 11,000 jobs (6,000 in Tennessee).

Gov. Lee said the state intends to offer an enhanced incentive totaling more than $500 million for successful completion of the project. In return, he expects more than 27,000 direct and in-direct new jobs that produce $1.02 billion in annual earnings. Lee intends to call a special legislative session this fall to address funding, buildout and oversight for the Memphis Regional Megasite.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge said it’s no secret that the megasite’s failure to attract a tenant has been a long-term disappointment. “Today’s announcement wipes that all away. … While Tennessee’s economy has always been strong, some areas of our state have been left behind. A major manufacturing facility in this area will transform the economy of West Tennessee and provide high-quality, high-paying jobs for the entire region.”

Watch carefully today. There will so many politicians bloviating that Ford many think it has found yet another source of energy.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today, Inc.

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