HISTORIC TIMELINE: WIXOM ASSEMBLY PLANT
1955 – In April, Ford Motor Company creates Lincoln as a stand-alone division separate from Mercury and announces plans to build a new Lincoln headquarters to handle administration, production and distribution.
1955 – Ground is broken on December 2 for a new Lincoln Plant in Novi, Mich. Attending the ceremony were Henry Ford II, Ben D. Mills, Vice President and General Manager of Lincoln Division, and Frazier W. Stamon, Novi Township supervisor.
1957 – On April 15, Lincoln Division’s new national headquarters – including Lincoln Assembly Plant – opens in Novi, Mich., becoming the sole producer of all domestic and export vehicles for the Lincoln Division. The plant employs approximately 2,400 people. The facilities include a 1,300,000 square-foot assembly plant, a 200,000 square-foot three-story office building, a test track and power plant. It has four cafeterias, two dining rooms, a fully-equipped hospital, fire and plant protection organizations and paved parking facilities for 3,600 cars.
1957 – On August 1, Lincoln Assembly Plant begins production of the 1958 Lincolns and Continentals. With the advent of the 1958 models, the plant produces the first unitized body construction in Ford Motor Company. This means the frame is built as an integral part of the body. 1958 – The Lincoln Assembly Plant is renamed Wixom Assembly Plant.
1958 – Lincoln Assembly Plant is the first automotive plant to be selected as one of the top ten plants of the year in the U.S. by Factory Management and Maintenance magazine for being a “new plant for a radically new product – a plant that is an almost complete departure from the usual automotive facility.”
1964 – A revolutionary new system for applying rust-resistant primer coating, called electrocoating, is installed at Wixom Assembly Plant, Ford’s first plant to receive the new technology.
1970 – Ford completes installation of a 16-acre oxidation lagoon to purify treated waste water.
1982 – Wixom is one of the first U.S. auto plants to embrace employee involvement as part of a union-management partnership. A joint steering committee meets monthly to discuss quality and solicit workers' input on vehicle design to improve quality and ease of assembly of new models.
1987 – Wixom Assembly Plant begins production of the 1988 Lincoln Continental. J.D. Power & Associates rated quality as “high.” The plant installs technology and flexibility to build new products, including an assembly line that accommodates three different vehicle platforms – unibody/rear-wheel drive, unibody/front-wheel drive and body-on-frame – on the same line.
1988 – Ford Motor Company announces it will invest $238 million to expand and modernize the paint facility at Wixom Assembly Plant. New paint lines will be housed in a 614,000 square foot addition to the plant.
1989 – Thunderbird nominated as Motor Trend “Car of the Year.”
1990 – Wixom Assembly Plant is one of 12 facilities featured by Industry Week magazine in a special report on “America’s Best Plants.” The plant is honored for achieving “true manufacturing excellence.”
1990 – The 1990 Town Car earns top honors as Motor Trend “Car of the Year.”
1992 - A new addition in the Body Shop, and Trim and Chassis Departments is completed for the all new 1993 Mark VIII.
1994 – In November, production begins on the all-new 1995 Lincoln Continental.
1997 – Wixom Assembly Plant is expanded by 500,000 square feet of floor space, making it the largest Ford car assembly plant in North America at 4.7 million square feet and one of the most high-tech assembly plants in the world. The new space is added to produce the new 1998 Lincoln Town Car, the redesigned 1998 Lincoln Continental, and the new Lincoln LS. New state-of-the-art body shop for the LS was completed at this time in preparation for the launch of the 2000 LS in the spring of 1999
1997 – According to R. L. Polk research, the Lincoln Town Car has the highest owner loyalty rating of all nameplates with 80 percent of Town Car owners returning to Ford Motor Company to buy another vehicle.
2000 – The 2000 Lincoln LS earns top honors as Motor Trend Car of the Year.
2001 – Motor Week awards the 2000 LS with the Driver Choice award for Best Luxury Sedan. The Thunderbird returns to Wixom on June 4th 2001 as an all new retro-looking two-seater convertible.
2002 – The 2002 Ford Thunderbird earns top honors as Motor Trend “ Car of the Year.” It also wins the J. D. Powers Best Entry Level Luxury Car the same year.
2004 – Wixom Assembly receives Bronze Award in J.D. Power and Associate Initial Quality Study, North and South America Plant Awards. Ford GT begins its limited production.
2006 - Ford Motor Company announces its Way Forward plan to return its North American operations to profitability. The plan includes aligning customer demand with capacity, and Wixom Assembly Plant is identified as one of nine manufacturing (and one of five assembly) plants to be idled by 2008.
2007 - Wixom Assembly Plant is idled.