Ford builds...flexible Michigan plant - Reuters/finance.yahoo.com
Thu, Nov 8, 2012
By Deepa Seetharaman
...photo credit: Ford Events @ facebook
DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (NYS:F) marked on Thursday the production launch of its latest plug-in hybrid at a former SUV factory that now serves as a model for the second-largest U.S. automaker's global manufacturing strategy.
With production of the C-Max Energi, the Michigan Assembly Plant is now the only factory in the world to build gas-powered, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars all on the same production line, according to the company.
"In the future, globally, we'll have plants that produce multiple platforms, multiple powertrain choices and multiple body styles," said Jim Tetreault, head of manufacturing in North America.
Michigan Assembly is the latest illustration of Ford's strategy to retool plants and train workers to build a wider range of models. The move lowers Ford's production costs, while allowing it to adapt more quickly to changes in consumer demand.
The flexibility at Michigan Assembly, which can build five body styles on two platforms, is key as Ford offers electric and hybrid cars whose sales have been unpredictable...
...Ford announced in May 2009 that it was spending $550 million to overhaul the 55-year-old plant, which made the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size SUVs...
MOVING GOAL POSTS
...Under its "One Manufacturing" strategy, Ford is working to build more flexibility at its plants worldwide. Within three years, Ford expects each of its assembly plants to make an average of 4.5 models by 2015, up from 3.6 currently.
Over time, Ford aims to equip more of its plants to handle multiple vehicle platforms. This is easier to do at plants that build cars, sedans and crossovers, because trucks have different design and build requirements, Tetreault said.
Ford's plant in Oakville, Ontario can handle three body styles on two platforms and in Louisville, Kentucky, Ford can build six styles on three platforms.
Ford is working to make other plants capable of building multiple platforms...
bolding and truncating the title
to keep the focus on the NEW STYLE assembly plants
"...and a large reason I'm thinking Lincoln alongside the Mustang has to do with my CD4+r.w.d. theory))
thinking ALL CD3/D3-4/CD4/CD4+3 plants are(have BEEN) up for 'review'
including the Euro plants (Genk>>Valencia)
starting to think, *IF* I'm right, this could be the biggest Physical reorganization Ford's ever had (edit2 - since WWII)"