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said it will add 7,000 new hourly and salaried jobs between this year and next year in the U.S.

The company said that this year alone it's adding 4,000 hourly jobs at several of its U.S. plants, including 1,800 at its Louisville assembly plant, which is preparing to launch the next-generation Ford Escapes late in the year. Ford said it will also add 750 salaried engineering jobs in product development and manufacturing.

Next year, Ford expects to add at least 2,500 more new manufacturing positions.

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"Ford is committed to American manufacturing, and we are on a path to add more than 7,000 American workers over the next two years as we continue to grow our product lineup," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, in a prepared statement.

"Working with our partners, including the UAW (United Auto Workers), Ford is finding competitive ways to engineer and build even more high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles with technologies American consumers really want."

Ford said it's recruiting engineers specializing in batteries, system controls, software and energy storage to work on electric vehicles in Detroit and eight other cities including Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; and San Jose, Calif.

This recruitment launches at the 2011 North American International Auto Show during industry preview days on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13.

Shares of Ford have risen 0.7% to $18.41 in Monday trading, while rival


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(GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report

is down 0.4% to $38.81.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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>>Ford Favored Over GM by UBS

>>Ford Out-Electrifies GM and Nissan

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