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News of  July 25, 2001


Ford Expands Presence In Norfolk With Addition Of New Body Shop


Photo: Ford

NORFOLK, Va. – In a strong demonstration of community and customer commitment, Ford Motor Company announced it would expand its Norfolk Assembly Plant with the addition of a 350,000-square-foot body shop.

The new shop will allow Ford to continue producing its best-selling F-150 pickup truck in Virginia using the latest manufacturing technologies. State and city officials joined Ford executives at the plant this morning to announce the project. Over the next three years, Ford will invest approximately $375 million. The expansion will generate up to 200 new jobs over today's employment level depending upon market conditions, depending upon market conditions.

"Expansion of our Norfolk Assembly Plant allows Ford to further refine its commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative manufacturing practices and world-class products," said Anne Stevens, vice president, Ford North American Assembly Operations. "Norfolk is one of Ford's lead manufacturing facilities, and we have cascaded the best practices it has established across the rest of the company. I am proud of the dedication, quality and collaboration Norfolk's employees put into F-series trucks and their community."

"I am pleased that a company of Ford's magnitude continues to make a home for itself in the Commonwealth," said Governor Jim Gilmore. "Ford Motor Company's success is evidence of Virginia's pro-business climate, as well as the quality workforce found in the Hampton Roads and throughout the state."

Ford's Norfolk facility produced approximately 240,000 F-Series pickup trucks last year. The plant is one of the company's oldest assembly plants and originally produced Model T cars when it first opened in 1925.

"We have been part of the Norfolk community for over 75 years and are extremely pleased with the state and local support we have received through the years," said Mike Hom, plant manager at Norfolk Assembly. "This expansion will help us maintain world-class productivity and quality levels. It allows us to capitalize on an outstanding workforce and an outstanding product that customers trust."

The state and city will provide about $12 million in project incentives, including $3 million from the Virginia Investment Partnership, a fund created to encourage existing state manufacturers to invest in Virginia, and $8 million from the Norfolk Industrial Development Authority. The City of Norfolk will receive a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist with site preparation, and Ford will receive the equivalent of $500,000 for recruiting and training, Gilmore said.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal represented Gilmore at today's plant celebration. "The expansion of Ford Motor Company's Norfolk plant is a testament to the power of partnership between state and local officials," DuVal said. "The Commonwealth is pleased to be part of the ongoing growth of such a dynamic corporate citizen."

With 876,716 sales last year, Ford's F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the past 19 years. Norfolk began manufacturing the F-Series exclusively in 1974. In addition to building the country's most popular pickup, Norfolk employees take an active role in the community and have participated in a variety of initiatives including beautification of the Elizabeth River and fundraisers for local charities.

Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim added, "For more than 75 years, the City has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Ford Motor Company and the world-class employees who work at Ford's Norfolk Assembly Plant. We are exceedingly proud that Ford has determined to grow and strengthen that relationship by making the largest single investment in the history of Norfolk."

(July 23, 2001)

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