Photo credit: Flex-N-Gate
A unit of Illinois supplier Flex-N-Gate has acquired a facility in central Michigan to stamp bumpers for the upcoming Ford Ranger midsize pickup.
The unit, Ventra Ionia Main LLC, plans to invest $4.85 million to buy the 48,900-square-foot facility in Ionia, Mich. The project is expected to create 109 jobs and expand the company’s adjacent operations in Ionia.
The Ford Ranger is slated to hit the increasingly competitive midsize pickup market in early 2019. It will compete against the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. And earlier Friday, Fiat Chrysler announced plans to enter the segment with a midsize Ram.
Ventra Ionia specializes in front and rear bumpers, trailer hitches and chrome-plated plastics.
The company’s existing Ionia operation covers 724,000 square feet and employs about 1,300, said Mellissa Kendall, director of energy at Flex-N-Gate, in a May 31 email to Plastics News, an affiliate of Automotive News.
Ventra Ionia will also receive a $600,000 performance-based grant from the MEDC’s Michigan Business Development Program, contingent on job creation, base level of employment and investment. MEDC said Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Illinois and Indiana.
“We anticipate to begin hiring in October 2018,” Kendall said.