Ford Plant Prepares to Begin Manufacturing Escape
After a $600 million renovation, Louisville’s Ford Assembly Plant is almost ready to begin production. The plant is cavernous. There aren’t many people—or cars—around, because the plant hasn’t restarted production yet. But the robots are working, demonstrating how the bodies of the new Ford Escape will be welded, and how the dashboards will be installed.John Savona is the plant manager.“What we’re doing differently is we’re installing the instrument panel in a new vehicle with an automated system, with an automated robot. When in the past, we picked up the instrument panel with a couple of operators and we had to go into the vehicle like that.”Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Governor Steve Beshear were on the tour. Beshear says he’s excited to see what Ford is contributing to the state.“Well, this is an amazing process and to see it actually coming to fruition is a very satisfying feeling for me. What this means for the commonwealth of Kentucky is that Ford’s going to be here for a long, long time to come.”The plant is designed to be flexible—Savona says settings can be tweaked and workers can begin producing an entirely new model within a few hours if need be.