NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Motorola Chooses Fort Worth For New U.S.-Made Phone

Lauren Silverman

There are more than 130 million smartphones in the U.S. But none of them say “Made in the USA.” When Motorola debuts its high-end smartphone -- the Moto X --  it will be the first.

And every Moto X will come from Fort Worth.

Mark Randall is Motorola’s senior vice president of supply chain and operations. He says rival companies have shied away from manufacturing here in recent years because of high labor costs. But those are dropping, and Google-owned Motorola sees other advantages.

“We factor things like transportation, and other value added services that we’re able to offer our customers in the future.”

Fort Worth might not seem like an obvious choice, but Randall says the city is logistics heaven. There’s an industrial airport with a low tax rate, access to a large freight rail network and the factory Motorola is moving into used to be a Nokia facility.

“It’s designed perfectly to be a cell phone manufacturing facility,” Randall says.

The area is also home to the so-called “telecom corridor” – where companies such as Verizon, Ericsson and AT&T have offices. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price says Motorola will bring the city 2,000 jobs.

More than 150 jobs were posted online this week

“We are in an enviable position because we don’t have a high unemployment rate," she says. "But that said, you always have people moving into the region and people looking to upgrade their jobs and I think these Motorola jobs will be great for that."

The Moto X will have high-tech sensors that detect when it’s in your pocket, or when you’re driving down the freeway. That’s all the sneak peak we get for now.

Whether the new features and "Made in America” slogan will ramp up sales for Motorola isn’t clear, but it looks like a boost for American manufacturing, and for North Texas. 

Check out the job details for the new assembly plant in Fort Worth.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.