Changes jolting the global auto industry could hit Kansas City sooner than we think — with devastating impact on the region’s economy.
If you wonder how such forces could impact us, look no further than KCAP, Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, which is the largest manufacturing site in the region. Then ponder General Motors’ December announcement of plant closings in Ohio and Michigan.
In the auto business, nothing is ever certain.
New automobile options are reducing consumer automobile demand. Growing product segments such as self-driving and electric vehicles may require automakers to make costly changes to their plants.
The auto industry is the largest exporter from the U.S., but trade tensions could change that.
It’s tempting to think that KCAP is safe from these forces. After all, it produces two historically well-selling vehicles
But the plant still affected by those factors, and uses large amounts of metal, which are affected by recent tariffs.
Last year, Ford put 2,000 KCAP workers on temporary layoff because of slower Transit sales.
President and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri Ray McCarty had this to say in regard to the plant:
“As one of the co-chairs of the Ford 2020 Task Force that helped pass the incentives and the leader of the state’s foremost manufacturing advocate, it is essential that the hard fought victory to make the Claycomo plant relevant is not lost. Suppliers and workers that depend on the Claycomo plant need to remember that the victory we won by convincing legislators to embrace incentives for retaining jobs. making investments in new products and benefiting suppliers was groundbreaking at the time. The Missouri Senate had closed the door on nearly all incentives and Gov. Nixon wasn’t that thrilled about helping initially either. But Associated Industries of Missouri joined forces with union leaders (not always on the same page) and workforce developers and we convinced them to put aside their doubt and embrace Claycomo incentives. The results, as noted in this article, have been phenomenal. Not only were the jobs at the time saved, the plant has grown to be one of the most important in the Ford system. Leaders should learn from this experience – properly used incentives can produce results. We thank the leadership at Ford for not giving up and leading the fight to save those jobs.”