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Hundreds of auto industry jobs coming to region

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The auto industry is obviously a driving force behind the economies of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Two new announcements mean hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions in investments for the region.

Dozens of jobs are being created by an auto supply company that just opened a facility in Monroe and hundreds of jobs are being added to the lines at Ford's Lima Engine plant. The two companies are also making significant investments in the communities.

Ford is investing a half billion dollars and adding 300 new jobs to its Lima plant. Joe Hinrichs is Ford's President of the Americas,"Of the 300 jobs some will be coming from other facilities and some will be new hires. At this point we do not know just how many will be transferring in but we will be hiring people from the community in the next 6 months or so."

Right now the plant builds engines for a number of different vehicles including the Ford Edge and Explorer as well as the Lincoln MKX and MKZ. This investment will add a whole new line to the plant. Workers will soon build the all new 2.7 liter EcoBoost engine for the new F-150 pick up truck. The money will be used for a flexible engine assembly system and the renovation of some of the plant, "It is such exciting news for Lima because anything to do with the F-150 is a big deal. It is the best selling vehicle in America for 32 straight years and to build anything that goes in that truck is really a proud moment for this community."

Another community in our region is getting a boost. The South Korean company Hanwha has expanded into Monroe. The Monroe plant makes parts for the automotive and packaging industries. Charlene Page is with the Monroe County Business Development Corporation,"It is a foreign company making direct American investment and looking to source with American companies. We love to see that because in this global economy that is what its all about."

Right now there are some workers at the Monroe plant but the plan is to more than double the number in the coming months with a potential for long term growth as well. It's a $12 million dollar investment, "They came in and renovated an existing building. They plan to hire a total of 70 people and they also say there is the possibility of expansion for the facility."

Back to Lima, the engine plant has been in the city since 1957. Right now more than 900 people work there, making it one of the largest employers in Allen County. Later this year, the 40 millionth engine to be built at the plant will roll off the lines.

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