New Ford Assembly Plant in Chongqing Wins Praise from Quality Chief
The plant opening ceremony in Chongquing
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- Ford's global quality chief, Bennie Fowler, praises quality standards at Chongqing plants and ramp up for all-new Ford Focus launch
- Chongqing assembly plants considered among Ford's best around the world
- Ford's operations in China have delivered unprecedented Quality improvements over the past three years
CHONGQING, China, 24 Feb., 2012 – Ford Motor Company's automotive assembly plant in Chongqing has earned hard-won praise one of the toughest critics – Ford's global quality chief.
"As the global head of quality for Ford, I constantly review our global manufacturing facilities and new vehicle launches," said Bennie Fowler, Ford group vice president, Quality. "After spending two days in Chongqing recently to see the plant and review the status of the launch of the all-new Focus, I was delighted with what I saw."
Ford and its joint venture partner, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (CFMA), today opened the CFMA Chongqing Assembly 2, or CQ2, which will be home to the all-new Ford Focus, which will go on sale in China in the spring.
Fowler said CFMA's manufacturing operations in Chongqing had proven to be among the best Ford plants around the world in terms of quality. He added that there had been unprecedented improvements of 40 percent to 50 percent in quality standards over the past three years at the China operations.
"When you look at the customer satisfaction results just for 2011 they are quite stunning. You just have to take your hat off to the team and thank them for the results that they have achieved," Fowler said.
Fowler is the former chief operating officer for Jaguar Land-Rover, and has more than thirty years experience in manufacturing and engineering.
"Bennie is relentless in pushing the organization to have exceptional quality globally," said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, who formerly led Ford's global manufacturing. "He's a great coach and motivates people to achieve more than they ever thought possible. His blessing means a lot, because he doesn't give praise when it's not deserved."
Fowler said Ford's manufacturing employees across China had "thoroughly soaked up" the elements of Ford's Production System, thanks to the strong Chinese cultural desire of learning and self-improvement, which will ensure the company delivers world class quality standards. This was supported by Ford's quality training of around 200 suppliers in China over the past two years.
He said that the rapid strengthening of world-class quality that exists on the facilities in Chongqing and the vehicles they produce is one of the fastest ever.
"The changes we have seen have been nothing short of remarkable and are yet another example of how our One Ford plan is working to ensure we deliver the highest standards and class-leading products to our customers around the world," Fowler said.
During his visit to Chongqing, Fowler reviewed the latest iterations of prototypes to come off the line at CQ2. CFMA built and evaluated approximately 150 prototype cars as part of the production launch ramp up. Engineers and experts meticulously scrutinize and evaluate thousands of data on each prototype vehicle to confirm the quality of its production process, supplier parts and operator training.
He said Ford is currently building prototypes of the Focus in the new plant, and using the company's Quality Operating System to meticulously track and resolve any vehicle issues as part of the prototype ramp up.
"The quality journey never stops," he said. "We have to constantly improve with every vehicle we build, using the fundamental aspects of our production system – repeatable, consistent quality throughout our processes and the supply chain, and empowered, well-trained operators."
The second Chongqing assembly plant represents one of several new investments that Ford has made to support its aggressive expansion plan in China. Ford broke ground last June on a new USD 500 million state-of-the-art engine plant, which will more than double CFMA’s annual engine production capacity in China to 750,000 units when it comes online in mid-2013. These engines will equip Ford-brand vehicles manufactured and sold in the country.
In addition, in September Ford broke ground at its first transmission plant in China, also in Chongqing, with an initial annual capacity of up to 400,000 units. In July 2010, Ford’s commercial vehicle partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) also broke ground for a new USD 300 million vehicle assembly plant in Nanchang.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.Ford's wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and investment in China include Ford Motor (China) Limited, Ford Motor Research & Engineering (Nanjing) Co., Ltd., Ford Automotive Finance (China) Ltd., Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd., Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. Nanjing Company, Changan Ford Mazda Engine Co., Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Co., Ltd.