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Ford preps $200M Mich. test center for wind tunnel, climatic chamber

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is investing $200 million in a new vehicle testing complex near Detroit in Allen Park, Mich., that will include a wind tunnel and climatic chamber.

Construction on the operation will begin later this year and should be completed by 2019, a Ford spokesman said. It will sit on 13 acres next to the automaker’s Driveability Test Facility, which has similar testing capabilities.

The complex will include a wind tunnel to conduct vehicle aerodynamic and other tests with speeds up to 200 miles per hour. It will also include a rolling road simulation, with individual belts for each wheel, as well as a fifth belt that will run under the center of the car. The belts can operate at up to 200 mph.

The tunnel chambers will be enlarged to accommodate large-frame vehicles, such as the Super Duty pickup.

“This new wind tunnel facility will not only allow us to test our performance and racing vehicle lineup but will also enable us to share innovations across all our global Ford products,” Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director, said in a statement.

The site will also include a climatic chamber that can produce temperatures as low as minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 140 degrees.

It’s unclear how many workers the new center will employ. Ford said it will “continue to evaluate staffing plans and will know more” closer to the opening.

“This investment in new world-class test facilities underpins Ford’s ongoing commitment to advance our capabilities to continue to provide our customers with high-quality vehicles,” Raj Nair, Ford’s product chief and chief technical officer, said in a statement.

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