1,500 plant workers joined Ford executives to mark Flat Rocks "new era" on Monday 10 September, 2012

1,500 plant workers joined Ford executives to mark Flat Rock's "new era" on Monday 10 September, 2012

Ford has celebrated what it billed as the "opening of a new era" at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan which will build the 'One Ford' 2013 Fusion, the NAFTA version of the 2013 European Mondeo.

To meet Fusion production growth plans (the model line is already an established nameplate in the US), the automaker is adding 1,200 jobs, a second production shift, and spending US$555m while taking full management control of the former AutoAlliance International plant originally established with Mazda to build both automakers' products such as the Probe, MX-6 and 6.

The upgraded plant will have a fully flexible body shop and an upgraded paint shop with an environment friendly three-wet coating process when production begins in 2013.

"The new Flat Rock Assembly Plant symbolises the growth driven by our One Ford plan," said the automaker's president of The Americas, Mark Fields. "Ford continues investing in people, products and plants to deliver the head-turning, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive vehicles people really want."

Though now under the full management control of Ford, the plant remains owned by a 50/50 joint venture with Mazda Motor.

Following the end of US Mazda6 production last month (the redesigned line will be imported from Hofu, Japan), the plant will continue to produce Ford's populart Mustang coupe and convertible before adding the Fusion next year.

Flat Rock Assembly will be the US producer of that model, employing 2,900 workers on both vehicle lines. North American Fusions will also be made at Hermosillo, Mexico.

In addition to adding 1,200 new hourly jobs tied to Fusion production, Ford also is spending that $555m on a fully flexible body shop capable of producing multiple vehicles. This is part of the automaker's policy of, with each new major plant upgrade programme, significantly increasing the flexibility of equipment and facilities to build multiple vehicles at one location.

By 2015, it will be able to produce 25% more derivatives per plant compared with 2011 on a global basis.

The three-wet paint process, which Ford is rolling out across more than 15 assembly plants globally, allows three layers of paint to be applied one after another while still wet, with less manual intervention, resulting in a claimed superior product created with fewer pollutants and less expense.

"By fully incorporating Flat Rock Assembly into our manufacturing system, we are able to take advantage of internal efficiencies that will streamline our ability to produce vehicles," said North American manufacturing chief Jim Tetreault. "This is critical as we increase our capacity to meet growing customer demand for our products."

Introduced six years ago, the Fusion is part of the fastest-growing segment in the US this year - midsize sedans. Ford expects the segment, which totaled 2.1m vehicles in 2011, to continue growing. The Fusion's share of the segment has doubled to 12% since it was introduced and the car has set sales records in five of the first seven months of this year.

The 2013 Fusion variant of the Mondeo will offer the claimed widest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the segment - two EcoBoost petrol engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, a hybrid (shown in Mondeo form to European media in Amsterdam last week) and a plug-in hybrid.

Ford claims the Fusion Hybrid's 47 city mpg fuel economy beats the 2012 Camry Hybrid LE by 4 mpg in the city. The Fusion Energi's MPGe of 100 tops the 2013 Chevrolet Volt's by 2 MPGe.

The Fusion will also offer US buyers seven so-called 'must-have technologies', including a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and MyFord Touch.

Opened in 1987 as Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA, the plant in Flat Rock first produced the Mazda MX-6. In 1992, Ford purchased a 50% share in the plant and it was renamed AutoAlliance International. Over the years, the plant produced the Mazda 626, Mazda6, Mercury Cougar and Ford Probe. Mustang production was shifted to the plant in 2005.

Click on press release button below for Ford statement, additional graphics and plant information, Fusion supplier details

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Ford Opens New Era at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Source of 1,200 New Jobs and U.S. Production Home of All-New Fusion

  • Ford celebrates opening of a new era at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, new U.S. production home of the 2013 Ford Fusion as well as the iconic Mustang
  • Supporting its Fusion production growth plans, Ford is adding 1,200 jobs, a second production shift, and investing $555 million, taking full management control of the former AutoAlliance International plant
  • Upgraded Flat Rock Assembly Plant will feature a state-of-the-art, fully flexible body shop and an upgraded paint shop with an environmentally friendly 3-Wet paint process when production begins in 2013
  • On sale this fall, the 2013 Fusion offers customers the power of choice with the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment
 
 
FLAT ROCK, Mich., Sept. 10, 2012 – Ford Motor Company and its employees today are opening a new era at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, complete with a new name, 1,200 additional hourly jobs coming next year and plans to produce the 2013 Ford Fusion midsize sedan.
 
“The new Flat Rock Assembly Plant symbolizes the growth driven by our One Ford plan,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “Ford continues investing in people, products and plants to deliver the head-turning, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive vehicles people really want, including the all-new Fusion.”
 
 
Previously known as AutoAlliance International, Flat Rock Assembly is now under the full management control of Ford. The plant continues to be owned by a joint venture that is split 50/50 between Ford and Mazda Motor Corp.
 
Following the end of Mazda6 production last month, the plant will continue to produce the Mustang before adding Fusion next year.
 
Flat Rock Assembly will be the U.S. producer of Fusion, employing 2,900 workers on both vehicle lines.
 
In addition to adding 1,200 new hourly jobs tied to Fusion production, Ford also is investing $555 million to build a state-of-the-art, fully flexible body shop capable of producing multiple vehicles. With each new major plant program, Ford is significantly increasing the flexibility of its equipment and facilities to build multiple vehicles at one location. By 2015, Ford will be able to produce 25 percent more derivatives per plant versus 2011 on a global basis.
 
Ford also is upgrading the plant’s paint shop with an environmentally friendly 3-Wet paint process. The 3-Wet process, which Ford is rolling out across more than 15 assembly plants globally, allows three layers of paint to be applied one after another while still wet, with less manual intervention, resulting in a superior product created with fewer pollutants and less expense.
 
“By fully incorporating Flat Rock Assembly into our manufacturing system, we are able to take advantage of internal efficiencies that will streamline our ability to produce vehicles,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America Manufacturing. “This is critical as we increase our capacity to meet growing customer demand for our products.”
 
Introduced six years ago, Fusion is part of the fastest-growing segment in the U.S. this year – midsize sedans. Ford expects the midsize sedan segment, which totaled 2.1 million vehicles in 2011, to continue growing. Fusion’s share of the segment has doubled to 12 percent since it was introduced, and the car has set sales records in five of the first seven months of this year.
 
On sale this fall, the 2013 Fusion offers customers the power of choice with the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment – two EcoBoost-powered gasoline engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Fusion Hybrid’s 47 city mpg beats the 2012 Camry Hybrid LE by 4 mpg in the city. The Fusion Energi’s MPGe of 100 tops the 2013 Volt’s by 2 MPGe.
 
Fusion also offers consumers seven must-have technologies, including a Lane-Keeping System, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and MyFord Touch®.
 
Opened in 1987 as Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA, the plant in Flat Rock first produced the Mazda MX-6. In 1992, Ford purchased a 50 percent share in the plant and it was renamed AutoAlliance International. Over the years, the plant produced the Mazda 626, Mazda6, Mercury Cougar and Ford Probe. Mustang production was shifted to the plant in 2005.
 
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Original source: http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=37067