Ford Motor Company said today it will invest $550 million to transform a former light trucks plant in Michigan to a modern-green facility to produce fuel-efficient small cars such as the next generation Focus and its electric battery version.

The transformation of Michigan Assembly Plant embodies the larger transformation underway at Ford, said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally in a statement Tuesday.

The American automaker said production of the new Focus global small car in the Michigan plant will begin next year. The plant will employ about 3,200 people. The electric battery Focus will be manufactured starting in 2011.

This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles, Mulally added.

The company has the target to deliver four new electric vehicles into the U.S. market by 2012.

Those vehicles are the zero-emission Focus, powered by a lithium-ion battery and a Transit Connect battery electric commercial vehicle to be sold in North America in 2010. Ford also plans to assemble a next-generation hybrid vehicle and a plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.

As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we'll be there with more of the products they really want, Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas said in a statement.