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Apr 30, 2014, 11:32am CDT

Ford Transit vans start rolling off line in KC

James Dornbrook | KCBJ

A Ford Transit van is among the first to roll off the production line at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo.

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Ford Motor Co. drove its first Transit van off the line Wednesday at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo.

The Kansas City Assembly Plant underwent a $1.1 billion investment by Ford to prepare it for production of the all-new Ford Transit van, which will hit dealerships in the summer.

COVER STORY: Ford delivers: New Transit van carries payload of jobs, growth

The addition of the van has brought 2,000 new employees to the plant.

The plant will produce 300 Transit vans a day by June in one shift. Later this year, the plant will add a second shift for the Transit, with 800 more employees.

RELATED: Ford offers first public glimpse of new Transit production line

"Producing our Built Ford Tough Transit lineup in Kansas City is a big deal for the local community," Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, said in a release. "Our investment in Kansas City Assembly Plant production is about delivering world-class commercial vans for a new generation of commercial customers — while building on decades of leadership in the market and supporting new jobs throughout the region and across America."

RELATED: Importance of Ford Transit not lost on dignitaries

Current employment at the Kansas City plant is 4,878 hourly workers and 270 salaried employees. The plant covers about 5.6 million square feet on 1,270 acres.

RELATED: Ford delivers: Transit comes in three sizes, ripples jobs from KC

James reports about banking, financial services, manufacturing and sports business.

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