Ford Commences Production of Fusion at Michigan Plant

Noria news wires
Tags: manufacturing

Ford's assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich., recently began production on the new Fusion, marking the first time the car has been built in the United States. The move expands Fusion availability by more than 30 percent – up to 350,000 units annually.

"Fusion in Flat Rock is a win for all of our stakeholders, including customers, employees and dealers," said Ford president Joe Hinrichs. "At the same time, Ford is continuing its massive investment in America by creating another 1,400 jobs."

The 1,400 new employees Ford hired to support added production at the Flat Rock assembly plant puts the company more than 75 percent of the way toward its goal of creating 12,000 hourly jobs in the United States by 2015. In 2013 alone, Ford is hiring nearly 6,500 new hourly and salaried employees in the U.S. to support products, growth and investment.

To prepare Flat Rock's newest hires to build the Fusion, a simulated factory has been introduced to provide hands-on training in a real-world environment. The simulated factory allows workers to master the tasks they may be performing on the line. It also is expected to help reduce employee attrition and improve overall manufacturing and safety.

"We are thrilled to have added production of Fusion at Flat Rock Assembly Plant – not just for our dedicated workforce here but for the entire metro Detroit community and the associated jobs it will create," said UAW vice president Jimmy Settles. "Together with the domestic automakers and through the collective bargaining process, we are able to bring jobs to the U.S. that were previously located offshore. Fusion production in Flat Rock is a key part of that."

As part of a $555-million investment, the Flat Rock assembly plant has added a state-of-the-art, fully flexible body shop to allow multiple models to be produced on the same assembly line, supporting Ford's flexible manufacturing efforts.

Ford also has upgraded the plant's paint shop with installation of its three-wet paint process, which is more environmentally friendly and takes less time than conventional paint processes. Other technologies incorporated at Flat Rock include laser brazing, a form of welding that will be used on the Fusion to attach the roof of the car to the body with a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing seam. In 2014, dirt-detection technology will be introduced to ensure optimal paint and surface quality.

The Flat Rock assembly plant also produces the Ford Mustang and recently celebrated the 1 millionth Mustang built at the facility. With the addition of Fusion production, the Flat Rock assembly plant will have approximately 3,000 employees working two shifts at full line speed.

The Fusion is also produced at the Hermosillo assembly plant in Mexico and the Chongqing assembly plant in China.

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