LIMA — It has nearly come full circle for Lima’s Ford Engine Plant.
In 2014, The Ford Motor Co. invested $500 million to the Lima Engine Plant to not only create jobs, but to invest in the city. The surge in funding created 300 jobs in the plant.
Though the first truck off the assembly line was released in November, the first truck sold in Ohio with the Lima-made engine was sold in December to Marlene Gilman, of Lima, from the Reineke Ford Lincoln dealership in Lima.
Suzie Reineke, marketing manager with Reineke Ford Lincoln in Lima, said the dealership and the engine plant have had a good working relationship through the years and have sold trucks to its employees in the past.
Gilman, who previously leased a 2013 Ford F-150, said her and her husband loved the truck, but when it came time for their lease agreement to end, they wanted the newest model.
Since the new year, Reineke said the numbers of purchases and interest in the truck has been growing.
“It’s got everything on it,” Gilman said, noting the heated steering wheel was one of her favorite features of the truck. “I haven’t worn gloves since I’ve been driving.”
Gilman said she likes the heated seats, the full moon roof, the truck’s four-door capability and more.
“It handles smooth, it doesn’t feel like a truck,” Gilman said. “It feels like a car, but you’re sitting up higher and the visibility is just super, it’s just great.”
Ford’s support of the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine for its new model created an all-new design — known for its aluminum body.
“My husband said, ‘Honey, you’re going to get a ticket.’ I mean it’ll get up and go,” Gilman said.
Gilman said she is the primary driver of the truck and that she uses it as her “everyday vehicle.”
“We are thrilled Marlene purchased the very first all-new 2015 F-150 in the Lima community,” said Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager. “Lima has been instrumental in making this F-150 the smartest, toughest and most capable F-150 ever.”
The money invested in the plant created a new assembly line system as well as renovations of 700,000 square feet of the facility.
Gilman said that though it didn’t cross her mind when she was initially purchasing the truck, she has faith that the engine plant is in town in the event something were to go wrong with her purchase.