Engine plant key to Ford success

First Posted: 2/26/2011

LIMA — Ford Motor Co. is on a roll and taking the Lima Engine Plant along for the ride.The recession smacked Ford down, like other auto makers. But unlike other American car companies, Ford was better positioned, didn't need federal support and is now reaping the benefits, outgoing plant Manager Adrian Price said.Price is leaving for a promotion as director of Global Ford Production with Ford Motor Co.'s world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. He managed the plant for four years and leaves on a high note, as the plant added a third crew of about 250 new jobs. Ford has not yet announced Price's replacement.The company began a restructuring and new objectives before the recession, and ramped those up when the economy turned sour.Every employee at Ford has the same four goals, Price said:• Restructuring to operate profitably• Creating products people want and value• Improving the balance sheet• Working effectively together“As a result of having new vehicles and restructuring the business, a lot of people are coming back and reconsidering us,” Price said. “As a result of both standing on our own and doing the right things with a continued laser focus, the public is genuinely exited about the new products we have.” The company generated “tremendous goodwill” not taking a bailout, but Ford is moving past that, Price said, creating products people want.“There's lots to touch and see, lots of new technology, things people genuinely want, and they're excited about,” Price said.While Ford leveraged its global vehicles such as the global Focus and Fiesta to respond quickly with more efficient and electric vehicles (one Michigan plant transformed from a truck plant to vehicle assembly), it also developed better fuel efficiency and performance for some of its mainstays.The Lima Engine Plant is a key facility in the Ford portfolio, Price said.With the salaried and hourly employees and the new shift, the plant employs more than 900 currently and is operating seven days per week, Price said.Plant employees make the 3.5- and 3.7-liter V6 engines, which go in the Lincoln MKX, Ford Edge and the new Ford Explorer from the beginning of 2011.The revamped Explorer earned North American Truck of the Year honors and is America's most fuel-efficient full-size SUV, according to Ford.The four goals Ford now has are the same that they have been for four years, Price said.The Lima Engine Plant opened in 1957 to make V-8 engines for the Edsel, and it has transformed itself multiple times over to remain relevant to the company.“As a plant, everything we do is to support those four objectives,” Price said. “Lima and the engines are a big part of Ford's success.”

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