just-auto.com

US: Ford adds 1,000 jobs in Detroit

By just-auto.com editorial team | 31 October 2008

Ford is to restore the third shift at its Dearborn Truck Plant in January, recalling 1,000 workers to the plant.

The automaker yesterday marked the production launch of the 2009 F-150 truck at a plant where it has spent US$148m in tooling and equipment upgrades to build the redesigned model.

Although sales have slipped in recent months, the F-series remained the single top-selling model in the US to the end of September with 392,698 sales, according to WardsAuto.com.

Ford begins the marketing campaign for the new 2009 model on Sunday on 'NFL on Fox' with print and radio ads to follow.

"The new F-150 is the best truck Ford has ever produced and we expect a strong response from core truck buyers," said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, global manufacturing and labour affairs. "Despite the challenges in the market, the full-size pickup segment remains one of the largest in the industry and we are ensuring we have the production capacity we need to meet market demand."

Ford claims an average 8% fuel economy improvement across the range compared with the prior model year, the result of a wide range of engineering enhancements.

Plant upgrades included the addition of flexible automation in the paint shop.

The new truck also is produced at the Kansas City Assembly Plant.  Ford spent $110m there on new tooling and equipment including precision lasers in the body shop, new clear-coat robots in the paint shop and an extended box line in final assembly. They also added 65 new error-proofing devices.

The Ford plant event made it on to ABC's national news broadcast last night as part of coverage of the presidential election.

Noting the cheers and applause that greeted the announcement of 1,000 new jobs, the Detroit Free Press said a United Auto Workers regional official, Rory Gamble, told the crowd they should vote for Senator Barack Obama "if you want to continue to have days like these."

"As working men and women in this country," he said, "we are drowning."

He implored the crowd to vote Democrat "for your children, for your grandchildren" and noted that so far, Detroit has received "no help from Washington whatsoever", according to the paper.