FLAT ROCK, Mich., Feb. 10, 2003 – The all-new 2005 Ford Mustang, which captivated car enthusiasts as a concept vehicle at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, will be built at AutoAlliance International (AAI) in Flat Rock, Mich., Ford announced today.
To mark the announcement, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, accompanied by Jim Padilla, executive vice president and president for Ford North America, drove a red convertible Mustang concept onto the floor of the AAI assembly plant to applause from 1,100 employees and guests.
"I'm proud that our state provided the right business environment to convince Ford to keep Mustang production in Michigan and create 1,400 jobs," Granholm said. "We estimate those jobs will ultimately generate employment for another 6,300 residents within our state indirectly. It's good to know that Ford is adding more horsepower to Mustang and Michigan's economy."
Padilla said that after 39 years as America's pony car, "we are excited that Mustang is moving to a new home at AAI. As one of America's most widely acclaimed cars of all time, Mustang's legendary nameplate will continue to be produced at one of Ford's best assembly plants."
AAI Joins Flexible Manufacturing Transformation
As part of the transformation toward more flexible manufacturing operations at Ford's North American assembly plants, Ford and AAI are investing more than $644 million in new equipment, including adding a second line in the body shop to accommodate the new Mustang.
Both lines have the capacity to run two platforms and run four models or body styles off each platform. While Mustang and Mazda6 will run on separate lines in the body shop, they will be produced on the same trim, chassis and final lines. "We will have the ability to change the mix, volume and options of products – all with minimal investment and changeover loss," said Phil Spender, AAI president.
AAI will be among the first wave of Ford plants to install next-generation flexible body systems. Four Ford assembly plants that will build the new 2004 Ford F-150 and the new 2005 Ford Freestyle and Ford Five Hundred will be the first to have new flexible production systems installed. Over the next decade, Ford expects to save up to $2 billion because its flexible system will cost 10 percent to 15 percent less than traditional systems, with an added 50 percent savings in changeover costs.
Ford's flexible body shops employ an industry-first system of 16 standardized cells, or modules, all built from about 300 components. Only product-specific tooling will need to be changed, or computers and robots reprogrammed, to launch new products.
By mid-decade in North America, about half of Ford's body shops, trim and final assembly operations will be flexible. That number rises to 75 percent by the end of the decade.
Production of the all-new Mustang, which is expected to add a second shift of employment at the plant, will begin in fall 2004. Jobs added at AAI will be filled by those who have been either laid-off or reassigned due to the company's previous capacity adjustment actions.
Established in 1986 as a joint venture between Ford and Mazda, AAI currently employs about 1,900 hourly and salaried employees. AAI currently builds the all-new Mazda6, with class leading driving dynamics and performance.
"All of us here at Auto Alliance are privileged and feel the responsibility that goes with being entrusted to build this legendary nameplate at Flat Rock," said Spender. "The substantial investment we are making at Flat Rock will help provide an economic stimulus to the local economy, stabilize employment at the plant and give us the ability to produce a wider variety of vehicles competitively.”
America's Pony Car
Since its introduction in April of 1964, Mustang has been built at the famed Dearborn Assembly Plant, where Henry Ford produced the Model A and developed the Rouge complex, the world's largest and oldest industrial icons. Constructed in 1917, Dearborn Assembly Plant will be torn down as part of the Ford Rouge Center redevelopment to make way for the new Dearborn Truck Plant, which is scheduled to begin production of the all-new Ford F-150 in mid 2004.
The redesigned Mustang, which draws on the distinct styling cues from classic models, captures the essence of the American pony car's design and performance heritage. The exterior designs are clearly inspired by some of the Mustangs of the past and have been created by a design team that took an introspective approach to updating a classic.
Mustang was introduced April 17, 1964 at the New York World's Fair. Although Ford only expected to sell 100,000 Mustangs the first year, dealers took 22,000 orders the first day. Mustang went on to sell 418,812 vehicles, surpassing the first year record previously held by the 1960 Ford Falcon. Since its introduction, Ford has sold more than 8 million Mustangs.
Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s second largest automaker, with approximately 335,000 employees in 200 markets on six continents. Its automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Quality Care and Hertz. Ford Motor Company will officially observe its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.