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GM’s made the announcement about the Corvette several months after Ford Motor Co. said it would shut down a Louisville assembly plant for a $600 million renovation that will allow it to build the Escape, a small sport utility vehicle that is selling well.

The Ford plant plans to hire 1,800 more employees — or nearly 5 percent of Ford’s current U.S. workforce — to build a new version of the Ford Escape small SUV.

Toyota’s manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky., produces the popular Camry, along with the Avalon and Venza vehicles. It has been forced to impose temporary shutdowns at all of its 13 North American plants after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged factories in northeastern Japan, causing shortages of auto parts.

c AP writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report.