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Ford Adds Jobs, Boosts Engine Production

Ford is pumping $200 million and adding 450 workers to its Cleveland Engine Plant as it moves to meet growing demand for more fuel efficient models.

Once the expansion is finished late next year, the Cleveland Engine Plant will start building 2.0 liter EcoBoost engines.

"We are maxed with our production of the 2 liter EcoBoost because of the demand we are seeing in products like the new Fusion and Escape," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas. "So we are going to bring production here to add capacity globally and produce it right here in the United States."

(Read More: Ford on 'Front-End' of Worldwide Profit Growth: CEO.)

Ford Cleveland Engine Plant
Source: Ford
Ford Cleveland Engine Plant

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is currently built at Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain.

U.S. Auto Industry Still Revving up Jobs

The additional 450 workers Ford hires at its Cleveland Engine Plant means Ford is more than halfway toward its goal of adding 12,000 hourly workers in the U.S. by 2015. Ford, and almost all other major automakers, have been adding workers as they increase production to meet greater sales.

(Read More: Auto Sales Start 2013 With a Bang)

This year, auto sales are expected to increase by 8 to 10 percent and total more than 15 million vehicles for the first time since 2008. Auto jobs bottomed out in 2009 and are expected to continue to rebound.

EcoBoost Selling Despite Criticism

Ford's decision to increase production of its popular EcoBoost engine comes just weeks after Consumer Reports criticized turbocharged engines. Consumer Reports tested several models with turbocharged engines and said almost all of them delivered fewer MPG and a lower level of performance than automakers have been advertising.

(Read More: Turbocharged Vehicles Fall Short of Promised Mileage: Study.)

In particular, the magazine named five Ford models with EcoBoost engines that delivered lower than advertised fuel efficiency.

"That data is not consistent with what we are seeing internally and externally in the marketplace," Hinrichs said. "The demand for EcoBoost continues to rise. It is exceeding our expectations."

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau; Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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