Ford CEO Jim Farley says he welcomes union representation at battery plants and is working to source as many of its own parts as possible in the pursuit of electric vehicles.
According to Farley, building parts in-house makes more sense than outsourcing to manufacturing companies, and it could also offset an upcoming expected 40% reduction in labor.
This week, Farley compared Ford’s efforts to create their own EV parts to the early days of the auto industry, when companies like Ford controlled most, if not all, of the components in their vehicles.
After an auto conference for the Rainbow Push Coalition, Farley explained to reporters, “We’re going back to where we were at the beginning of the century. Why? Because that’s where the value creation is. It’s a huge transformation.”
He added that the benefit of retaining jobs is a massive part of why Ford wants to transition to in-house parts building. And they plan to build the businesses they need to manufacture the parts instead of acquiring them.
Ford is building two lithium-ion battery plants in central Kentucky in a joint venture with South Korea-based SK Innovation (Called BlueOvalSK), along with a 3,600-acre campus in Tennessee. Ford announced the projects last year, which will cost around $11.4B.
The new joint venture battery plants have been a source of contention for the United Auto Workers union since companies like Ford and GM have said it will be up to workers of the plants to decide whether or not to unionize.
But Farley helped alleviate some concerns Tuesday as he said Ford would be “thrilled” to have union representation at their plants.