August 6, 2009
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Ford's Chicago plant renovated for
new 2010 Taurus production
Ford Motor Company is celebrating
production of the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus – which today was
named an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick
– in the historic Chicago Assembly Plant, which has been
retooled to build the stylish, technologically sophisticated
sedan with quality and precision.
"The 2010 Taurus provides still more
proof of Ford's commitment to product excellence," said Mark
Fields, president of The Americas.
"Delivering top safety, strong fuel
economy, head-snapping design, impeccable driving dynamics and
best-in-class technologies, Taurus truly showcases the best Ford
has to offer."
Renovated plant benefits Taurus
The all-new Taurus and Taurus SHO are
being produced in the recently renovated Chicago Assembly Plant,
which will help ensure a quality manufacturing process. Ford
invested more than $130 million in Chicago Assembly for tooling
and equipment, along with ergonomic updates.
"By investing in its Chicago Assembly
plant, Ford Motor Company is making an important reinvestment in
our state," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. "This is a remarkable
show of confidence in Illinois' great work force, business
community and everyday consumers, who are working together to
drive our economy forward."
Chicago Assembly Plant circa 1953
The 2010 Taurus has been heralded for its
sophisticated, customer-oriented technology like Blind Spot Information
System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert, Multi-Contour Seats with Active
Motion™, and Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake
Support. But such high-tech systems require more rigorous quality
Mark Fields with associates
Chicago Assembly, which has been a
flexible manufacturing site since 2004, features a number of new
quality-control techniques, including:
equipment, with sophisticated controls that ensure with
accuracy the quality of the vehicles being built
The use of key fobs, which require
operators to confirm proper assembly of the vehicle. If
proper assembly is not confirmed, the line will stop
An onboard diagnostics and quality
tracking system that scan vehicles to ensure there are no
issues. If there is a problem, the vehicle will not be
allowed to leave the plant
Ergonomic improvements throughout
the plant, such as station readiness checks and redesigned
assembly racks, which have led to a reduction in damaged
parts and an increase in employee morale The quality checks
continue even after the unit is off the assembly line. The
plant is equipped with a "rough road" test track featuring
seven surfaces designed to help employees identify any
squeaks and rattles on units before they leave the plant.
"The upgrades we made at the plant will
further ensure that quality is built into every Ford Taurus,"
said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing
and Labor Affairs. "Ford's quality is on par with the best in
the industry, and the employees in Chicago are delivering the
Taurus with an unrelenting focus on quality and craftsmanship."
Tackling electrical content upfront
Larry Moskwa, the plant's final area manager, has been with Ford
for 20 years and is a veteran of several new vehicle launches.
When he heard about the high level of content of the 2010
Taurus, he knew the manufacturing processes at the plant would
have to become more sophisticated.
"We needed to deal with all of the electrical
content upfront," he said. "This became all about learning how to build
quality into our vehicles from the ground up."
As a result, the plant dramatically increased
the number of its employees that focus on the electrical content of the
vehicles. It started with a three-phase training program where employees
studied not only a skeleton car with the wiring of the electrical
components exposed, but also worked on wiring looms that helped them
understand the correct electrical connections.
"We told our employees, 'Failure is not an
option, so we need to learn what we must do to make these systems
work,'" Moskwa said.
Building on history
The Chicago Assembly Plant has a strong track
record for quality. As Ford's oldest assembly plant in North America, it
has produced generations of top Fords. The original Chicago Assembly
Plant produced the classic Model T, and then later expanded into its
current location and produced Ford delivery trucks, the Model A and
Model A Convertible Cabriolets, among others that have made their mark
in automotive history.
Plant in 1953
In 1942 Chicago Assembly converted to wartime
production, manufacturing nearly 6,000 M-8 armored cars and M-20
reconnaissance armored units, equipped with anti-mine floors developed
by Ford under the supervision of the Army Ordnance Department. The
production of the Mercury Sedan in 1945 marked the plant's return to
Today, employees are excited to be a part of
the highly anticipated Taurus launch, said Jan Allman, Chicago Assembly
Plant manager. "We have a cohesive, tightly knit team here," she said.
"We understand the importance of the Taurus brand; we know what it means
August 4, 09)