06/10/2003 – First 2004 Ford F-150 Rolls Off Assembly Line Into History

Source: Ford Motor Company

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
    manufacturing system.

    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.

    The
    debut of the 2004 F-150 comes only six days before the company that
    Henry Ford founded a century ago officially observes its
    Centennial celebration.

    “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
    Ford Department.

    “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
    bottom line.”

    Flexible Manufacturing
    Start-Up

    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
    Quality.

    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
    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
    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
    decade.

    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
    features.

    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
    Lariat.

    100 Millionth V-8 Engine

    To
    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
    plants.

    2004 Ford F-150

    Tough, capable
    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
    running.

    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
      stance and style -
      The new F-150 features an all-new design,
      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
      cargo capacity -
      The new F-150’s cargo box is 2 inches deeper,
      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
      performance.

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