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PHOTOS: Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant Rolls Out Navigators, Expeditions

Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators are rolling off the production lines attheKentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane.  The plant’s $200-million, four-month conversion is complete, and the two new vehicles are now added to the plant’s production of Super Duty trucks.Ford’s Vice President of North American Manufacturing, James Tetreault, says it’s a step forward amidst more bad news from other American car manufacturers.  General Motors announced this week it will shut down their U.S. plants for nine weeks this summer.Tetreault says that move will affect Ford’s suppliers.“The supply base, we do share some common suppliers, and we’re very concerned about that.  We’ve put some contingency plans in place, we do have a team that is actively looking at how we manage that," says Tetreault.  "We remain concerned, but we’re focused on delivering what we have to deliver at Ford.”

The re-tooling at Kentucky Truck Plant is indicative of the company-wide shift inproduction to more flexible assembly lines that can quickly change between a variety of car models.  Tetreault says as for the F-Series trucks that were already in production at KTP, they’re hoping the economy picks up soon.“If the market remains depressed… you guys know who we sell Super Duty’s to, it’s a lot of homebuilders, it’s a lot of tradesmen… I mean, these are tools," says Tetreault, 'and we need the people that use those tools to be working.”As for the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road, Ford announced last year it would be completely remodeled into a flexible production plant in 2010, with a new vehicle release in 2011.

Governor Steve Beshear, Ford Vice-President of North American Manufacturing James Tetreault, and Kentucky Truck Plant Manager Joseph Bobnar discuss parts suppliers at the Kentucky Truck Plant.

 

UAW Local 862 President Rocky Comito joins Tetreault, Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson on the tour.

 

The Lincoln Navigator is one of the new additions to the production line at Kentucky Truck Plant.

 

A list of Kentucky companies that supply parts to the Kentucky Truck Plant.

 

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson inspects a newly-produced SUV at Kentucky Truck Plant.

 

A Ford worker updates Mayor Jerry Abramson, Plant Manager Joseph Bobnar, and Ford Vice-President for North American Manufacturing James Tetreault on the process of re-tooling the plant.

 

New flexible production platforms enable workers at the plant to switch quickly between Ford models, as the market demands.

 

SUVs roll along the production line, beside F-Series trucks, at Kentucky Truck Plant.