Ford Motor Co. is in the midst of selling or dramatically reducing the size of its 3,400-acre (1,375-ha) Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca, AZ, an economic director from the region says.

The decision to move ahead with the sale was made in January, after Ford mulled consolidating its Dearborn, MI, testing facility with that in Yucca, says Jonas Peterson, deputy director-economic development of Mohave County.

“We were competing with Michigan for the deal,” Peterson tells Ward’s. “Ford has two premier testing facilities, one around Detroit (Dearborn) and a hot weather (facility) out here.

“The original goal was to consolidate two into one, and the decision was made to not consolidate out here in Arizona,” he says. “In the end, it didn’t end up being a consolidation, but more of a downsizing.”

Peterson says Mohave County and cities surrounding the proving ground offered Ford a $500,000 tax incentive to maintain its Arizona site but were rebuffed.

A Ford spokesman confirms the auto maker will sell all or part of APG, but no deal has been made.

“What we are saying is we certainly want to consolidate vehicle testing in North America and have made decisions to sell or scale back at Arizona,” he says, adding the consolidation is part of the auto maker’s plan to cut costs in North America.

“It’s too early to discuss transition work,” the spokesman tells Ward’s. “The fact is we’re looking and talking. This is being smart about business and how you run it.”

The site, acquired by Ford in 1954, employs 84 fulltime and 70 leased workers, Peterson says, adding that county officials hope the facility will be sold to another auto maker and have offered to assist Ford in the proceedings.

“We made an offer to help them on the sale, but Ford is in negotiations right now,” he says. “The highest and best use (for the site), at least as it is currently developed, would be to transfer to another auto maker.”

bpope@wardsauto.com