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Tetreault: Ford to transform assembly plant into world leader
Business First

by Kevin Eigelbach
October 29, 2010

The Ford Motor Co. plans to transform its Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road into the company’s “most high-tech small-car plant we have in the world,” said James Tetreault, the company’s vice president for North America manufacturing.

Tetreault spoke at a meeting of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers this afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville. He devoted most of his speech to the improvements that Ford has made in profitability and quality over the past four years.

The transformation at the Louisville Assembly Plant will begin once the company builds its last Ford Explorer at the plant on Dec. 13, Tetreault said, at which time the company will set about retooling the plant into a small-car factory.

The plant, which employs about 5,600 people, will then produce cars from Ford’s global platform of models, Tetreault said.

“No, I can’t tell you what they are today,” Tetreault said. “I know there’s a lot of anticipation about what our plans are, specifically for this plant, but we’ll tell you the full story when the time’s right.”
The company is focusing on building cars that consumers want rather than putting vehicles out and hoping they appeal to the market, Tetreault said.

In order to give customers the cars they want, Ford wants to make its plants more flexible, so that one plant can produce a variety of models instead of just one. Ford has to be more flexible so it can respond more quickly to changes in demand, he said.

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