(Community Matters 51) Could Ford Really Bail on Marshall Battery Plant?

Ford Motor Company's plans for the Megasite in Marshall Township, Michigan back in February, 2023 were clear: Ford will build a lithium ion phosphate battery plant on the site and bring 2500 new jobs to the area.

The site has been readying for construction in earnest, even while a grassroots lawsuit attempted to stop construction, so far unsuccessfully. Then, amid strike talks with the UAW, Ford issued a statement on September 25, 2023 announcing construction would be paused:

“We’re pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we’re confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant.  There are a number of considerations.  We haven’t made any final decision about the planned investment there.”

The news left people in Marshall and all around the state wondering what is behind the decision – and if the project and plans for 2500 new jobs were in jeopardy of being scrapped.

Community Matters asked longtime Detroit-based CBS News auto reporter Jeff Gilbert for some perspective on what could have influenced Ford's decision. Is it just a bargaining chip in negotiations with the UAW? Could Ford be slowing its aggressive tack toward EV production? Click to hear his response.

Episode Resources
BlueOval Battery Park Michigan website
Ford Careers website
Marshall, Michigan website
Marshall Township,  Michigan website
Ford Motor Company press release about BlueOval Battery Park Michigan
Choose Marshall-MAEDA website
CATL website
PA 425 Conditional Land Use Transfer Explained
Committee for Marshall – Not the Megasite website
Committee for Marshall – Not the Megasite Facebook page
Other battery plant and Community Matters episodes

Former WBCK Morning Show host Richard Piet (2014-2017) returns to host Community Matters, an interview program focused on community leaders and newsmakers in and around Battle Creek. Community Matters is heard Saturdays, 8-8:30 AM Eastern on WBCK-FM (95.3) and anytime at battlecreekpodcast.com.

Community Matters is sponsored by Lakeview Ford Lincoln and produced by Livemic Communications.