Plant hailed as one of most-flexible advanced manufacturing facilities in the world
By LaneReport.com Staff
(More photos at the bottom of the story.)
LOUISVILLE Ky. (June 13, 2012) – Ford officials today unveiled a reopened and revamped Ford Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP), which is producing the 2013 Ford Escape. Ford is ramping up operations at the plant, which soon will employ approximately 4,500 workers on three shift crews.
“This is a day of celebration for Ford and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Production of the new Escape not only means thousands of jobs for Kentuckians, it boosts our GDP, tax revenue, and raises the level of the Commonwealth’s robust automotive industry, which is already one of the top five in the nation.”
Company and state and local officials first announced in late 2010 that Ford would invest $600 million to transform LAP into the company’s most flexible high-volume plant in the world, resulting in a second shift and 1,800 new jobs at the plant. In fall 2011, Ford signed a new contract with the United Auto Workers Union, which brought a third shift and another 1,300 jobs to LAP.
Now, the transformed plant has more than 20 miles of conveyors, nearly 1,000 programmable machines and robots, and has the flexibility and capability to produce six different types of vehicles at the same time.
“I was proud to support federal investments that helped Ford retool the Louisville Assembly Plant, and I am thrilled to see the results today,” said U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, of Louisville. “In less than three years, we went from being behind the curve to beating the curve, and we’re using American labor and ingenuity to do it. The Louisville workforce, Ford and government partners have shown just how successful we can be, working together to build the vehicles of the future and the innovations that keep our city and our country on the leading edge of manufacturing.”
“This is a great day for our city,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Ford’s history and Louisville’s history are intertwined, and today we begin a new chapter in that heritage, a chapter of business expansion and job growth.”
“With thousands of workers here, it’s easy to see how Ford is a crucial part of Louisville’s economy, but Ford plays a major role in Kentucky’s overall success as well,” Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said. “The commonwealth ranked fifth in the country for light vehicle production last year, but that ranking is expected to jump now that Ford is up and running here.”
Kentucky is currently home to more than 440 automotive-related industries that employ more than 68,000 people. Additionally, Kentucky ranks third highest in auto industry-related employment as a percent of total state employment among the top motor vehicle producing states in the United States.
“Today marks a celebration of progress and transformation,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas. “Louisville Assembly Plant’s reinvention illustrates how Ford is going further, continuing to invest in American manufacturing and new jobs while delivering even more of the fuel-efficient vehicles that give customers true power of choice.”
Ford’s tradition in Louisville dates back to 1913, when Henry Ford began manufacturing the Model T at a small shop on South Third Street. Now, in addition to LAP, Ford plans to invest another $600 million at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which employs more than 4,000 people and manufactures the F-Series Super Duty line of trucks.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Louisville because of the great number of new jobs that it will create as well as the economic development benefits,” said state Sen. Perry Clark, of Louisville. “This investment by Ford speaks well of our workforce. I appreciate Ford’s commitment to Louisville and look forward to a longtime partnership between Ford and the city of Louisville.”
“The transformation here at the Louisville Assembly Plant is marvelous,” said state Rep. Larry Clark, of Louisville. “It is a testament to Ford’s vision for LAP’s present and future role in maintaining the company’s worldwide stature in auto production, as well as to the company’s long-standing commitment to Louisville and Kentucky. I am pleased to have played a role in seeing this project through to a reality, and I congratulate Ford, the United Auto Workers and the entire Ford workforce, the Governor, and the Cabinet for Economic Development for all of their work in making today possible.”
“This is a major announcement; the culmination of years of hard work and partnership between Ford, the UAW, metro and state government and GLI,” said Eileen Pickett, executive vice president of Greater Louisville Inc. “We are thrilled to embrace these jobs and Louisville being home to some of the world’s most innovative technology in advanced manufacturing.”
For more information on Ford, visit www.ford.com.
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