First 2004 Ford F-150 Rolls Off Assembly Line Into History
United Auto Worker Vice President Gerald Bantom (left) & Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford celebrate the first 2004 F-150.
Norfolk (Va.) Assembly is first plant to use new flexible
manufacturing system. First 2004 F-150 is equipped with
Ford’s 100-millionth V-8 engine. Ford plans to install
flexible system in 75 percent of plants by end of decade.
NORFOLK, Va., June 10, 2003 – Ford Motor Company’s F-Series
trucks, led by the Ford F-150, reached another leadership milestone
today. The first 2004 F-150, a sporty red SuperCab Lariat, rolled
off the Norfolk Assembly Plant line, using an all-new flexible
To enhance today’s milestone, the
company equipped the first truck with Ford’s 100-millionth V-8
engine – the new 5.4-liter 3-valve TritonT V-8, which was produced
April 29 at Ford’s Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ont.
debut of the 2004 F-150 comes only six days before the company that
Henry Ford founded a century ago officially observes its
“In the last 50 years, nothing has
been more central to our success, or more important to us, than
the F-Series,” said Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO. “The power,
styling and interiors of this fantastic all-new 2004 Ford F-150 are
built to delight our customers and help maintain its place as
America’s favorite truck.”
F-Series has been the nation’s
best-selling truck for 26 consecutive years and the best-selling
vehicle for 21 years in a row.
During the celebration
2,500 employees and guests applauded as Bill Ford drove the first
new Ford F-150 off the line and into an arena with Gerald Bantom,
United Auto Worker vice president and director of the UAW National
“The work force at Norfolk Assembly has
tremendous skill and experience, with a long tradition of
producing some of the highest quality vehicles in the plant’s
78-year history,” Bantom said.
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner
presented the company with a proclamation in observance of Ford’s
Centennial on June 16. “The people of Virginia and Ford Motor
Company have enjoyed a successful partnership for 78 of Ford’s 100
years,” Warner said. “I believe our business partnership should
serve as an example for the kind of reinvestment in people and
facilities that can stimulate regional economies and the corporate
With the launch of the new 2004 Ford F-150
at Norfolk Assembly, Ford also introduced its new flexible
production technology. “Just as the F-Series has defined the truck
market for more than 26 years, our all-new flexible manufacturing
system introduces a new era of flexible manufacturing at Ford,”
said Roman Krygier, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and
Norfolk is the first of several Ford plants to
install a next-generation flexible system, allowing it to build up
to eight different models off two platforms. “Norfolk Assembly now
has the ability to change the mix, volume and options of products
in response to consumer demand and market segmentation – all with
minimal investment and changeover loss,” said Krygier.
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
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
needs 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
Ford’s Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant will begin
building the new 2004 Ford F-150 later this summer, and the new
Dearborn (Mich.) Truck Plant will begin building the F-Series
truck in 2004. Both will be among the first plants to install a
flexible production system.
Other plants to install the
flexible system include the Chicago Assembly Plant, which will
build the all-new 2005 Ford Freestyle, Ford Five Hundred and
Mercury Montego, and AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock,
Mich., which will build the new 2005 Mustang beginning next year.
Ford’s new system standardizes the assembly process, which
improves productivity through reduced changeover downtime.
Standardization helps improve quality through increased
repeatability. Plus, easier access results in improved safety and
ergonomics for operators and maintenance crews.
The new body
shop will be able to handle two distinct platforms while producing
four different derivatives off each platform. The lines can be
configured to accommodate front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive,
unitized-body and body-on-frame vehicles.
The same type of
standardization found in the new body shops is being employed in
final assembly. Final assembly operations have a standard
sequence, with standardized workstations that can be changed or
modified quickly and easily to accommodate new vehicle options or
The Norfolk Assembly Plant, which began
operations in 1925 with production of the Model T, currently has
2,320 employees. Since 1974, the plant has been home to the
F-Series truck. Norfolk Assembly builds the F-150 Regular Cab and
SuperCab models in five versions: XL, STX, XLT, FX4 and
100 Millionth V-8 Engine
showcase Ford’s engine heritage, the first 2004 F-150 was equipped
with the company’s
100-millionth V-8 engine, a powerful new 5.4 liter, 3-valve
TritonT V-8. The engine is the newest member of Ford’s modular
engine family. It is the first modular V-8 Ford engine to use
variable-cam timing to optimize intake and exhaust valve operation
across the rev range, generating both lower-speed torque and
high-speed horsepower while minimizing emissions. Ford uses a new
flexible manufacturing process to produce the new V-8, which is
being rolled out globally at all the company’s powertrain
2004 Ford F-150
and powerful, the F-Series has been the best-selling full-size
pickup for 26 years and the nation’s favorite vehicle for 21 years
When the new 2004 F-150 hits showrooms this fall,
customers will discover a broad range of overarching product
enhancements. The truck’s strong backbone – the industry’s
stiffest fully boxed frame – gives it great handling precision.
Its wider track provides great stability, and the all-new
coil-over-shock front suspension system provides a greater sense
of control. Other enhancements include:
- Stronger The new F-150 features an all-new design,
stance and style –
with a bold exterior shape that exemplifies Ford truck toughness
and capability. The interiors boldly take the full-size pickup
into a new dimension of comfort and refinement.
- Power Ford’s new 5.4-liter, 3-valve TritonT V-8 engine
produces 300 peak horsepower – a 15 percent improvement over the
previous award-winning 5.4-liter engine, and 365 foot-pounds of
torque for improved low-speed and peak pulling power. Mated with
the new 4R75E transmission for smoother shifts and improved fuel
efficiency, the new engine also contributes to a quieter cab
environment for F-150 customers.
- Even tougher –
The fully boxed frame is approximately nine times stiffer
torsionally than its tough predecessor, providing the foundation
for enhancements in durability, safety, driving dynamics and
refined, quiet ride.
- Superior driving experience Tremendous attention to detail has been applied to the
chassis of the F-150 to deliver a confident, capable driving
experience. F-150’s newly designed rear suspension, featuring
outboard shock, is among the details that contribute to more
confident and precise handling, both in everyday driving and while
towing a trailer.
- Increased interior spaciousness Regular Cab and SuperCab models have a passenger compartment
that is six inches longer, providing more space inside for
occupants and their gear. For SuperCab models, that extra length
means increased rear-seat comfort for three adults. In the Regular
Cab, it means 13 inches of secure storage space behind the seat.
- Greater access – Reflecting consumer demand for
ease of access for both people and cargo, Regular Cab models
feature new, class-exclusive access doors that open up new stowage
possibilities and accessibility behind the seat.
- More The new F-150’s cargo box is 2 inches deeper,
cargo capacity –
providing greater cargo volume. Plus, a new class-exclusive
Tailgate Assist feature, which is standard across the lineup,
helps owners of all statures open and close the gate.
- Enhanced safety – Inherent strength and toughness, plus
the F-150 Personal Safety System’sT new
occupant-sensing technology for the front outboard passenger,
makes the all-new F-150 a strong choice for safety. It has been
engineered to exceed the rigorous new federal government safety
standard, FMVSS 208, which governs air-bag and offset crash