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Old 11-19-2003, 06:13   #1 (permalink)
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USA: Ford Celebrates 300 Millionth Vehicle

Ford Motor Company added another milestone to its Centennial year as it celebrated its 300 millionth vehicle today at the historic Ford Rouge Center

http://www.ford-news.com/articles.php?articleId=127
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:54   #2 (permalink)
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Re: USA: Ford Celebrates 300 Millionth Vehicle

Ford produces 300 millionth vehicle

By John Porretto / AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN -- Century-old Ford Motor Co. produced its 300 millionth vehicle Tuesday, a crimson red 2004 Mustang GT convertible driven off the assembly line by chairman Bill Ford Jr.

"It's no secret to any of you that this is my favorite car in the world," Ford told employees during a brief ceremony at the company's Dearborn Assembly Plant, its oldest.

Ford is trying to engineer a turnaround at the world's second-largest automaker, which will introduce 40 new vehicles worldwide next year -- including an all-new Mustang -- and 200 new products globally in the next five years.

The company will use the milestone Mustang in promotions as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of that model next year. Ford marked 100 years in business in June.

"When the company built its one millionth car, my great-grandfather Henry Ford said, 'A million of anything is a great many,"' Bill Ford said. "He would be very proud that his company produced 300 million vehicles."

Other vehicle production milestones at Ford were the 20 millionth vehicle in 1931, 50 millionth in 1959, 100 millionth in 1977 and 250 millionth in 1996.

As Ford acquired other carmakers, such as Volvo and Jaguar, their production began counting toward Ford's once the deals were complete. The company's domestic brands are Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.

General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, says it's built roughly 395 million vehicles worldwide since its founding in 1908.

Through October, Ford's U.S. sales were down 4.7 percent from the same period last year. Ford has spent much of the past year beefing up its sport utility vehicles and this year doing the same to its trucks and minivans.

The company has dubbed 2004 "the year of the car." Among the new offerings: the large Five-Hundred sedan, the GT supercar, the new Mustang and the Freestyle, a roomy car-based utility vehicle.

"The people who have counted us out are going to be surprised with what they see," Ford said.

Ford Division President Steve Lyons said he was encouraged about prospects for 2004 because of positive changes in the economy. He also said the Ford division's bottom line is likely to improve next year because of more retail sales through dealers and fewer, less profitable fleet sales.

But Lyons said he doesn't expect much, if any, slowdown in incentive spending.

"Over time, you've got to be competitive," he said, "and there's no way to avoid putting incentives even on new vehicles if that's the way of the world."

Also Tuesday, Ford revived its $5-a-day lease for certain versions of the Mustang. The program, which expires Jan. 2, entails a 48-month lease and 10 percent down-payment.

Ford offered the same lease program from April 2 to June 16 and said it helped drive a 30 percent increase in Mustang sales.

In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Ford shares fell 10 cents to close at $12.61.

(Photo)Bill Ford, chairman and CEO of the Ford Motor Co,. stands next to a red 2004 Ford Mustang, the automaker's 300 millionth vehicle, at the Dearborn Assembly Plant Tuesday.
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:57   #3 (permalink)
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Re: USA: Ford Celebrates 300 Millionth Vehicle

On the line where Ford Motor Co. has made cars for 74 years, a milestone was reached Tuesday: No. 300 million

November 19, 2003

BY DAVID LYMAN
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

It was like a coronation, Detroit style.

Instead of lords and ladies, though, it was politicians and auto executives lining up at the Dearborn Assembly Plant on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Ford's 300 millionth vehicle.

One after another, Mustangs rolled under the 300 millionth banner hanging over Customer Acceptance Line No. 6, where cars undergo final inspections.

And suddenly, there it was: a 2004 Mustang GT. Convertible, crimson red, although insiders refer to the more-maroon-than-red color as "merlot."

The crowd oohed and ahhed. They applauded. Ford Chairman Bill Ford called it his "dream car."

But forgetthe hoopla and flashing cameras and back-slapping, it was that number.

300,000,000.

That's more than one vehicle for every man, woman and child in the United States. It means that the company has cranked out 5.7 vehicles per minute, 24/7 for more than a hundred years.

Don't believe it? Let's do the math.

# 1 hour equals 60 minutes.

# 1 day equals 1,440 minutes (24 x 60).

# 1 year equals 525,960 minutes (1,440 x 365.25; the 0.25 is for leap years).

# 1 century equals 52,596,000 minutes.

Take those 300 million vehicles and divide them into 52.596 million minutes and . . . well, there you are. That's 5.7 cars per minute. For more than 100 years.

Staggering.
Working the line

The enormity of the event was felt even more profoundly a couple hundred yards away, on the line where auto workers have been assembling cars for 74 years, ever since Henry Ford started making the Model A in this sprawling, wheezing complex in 1929.

It's amazingly noisy back here.

There's a constant whining and whirring and clatter of tools and parts, mixed with explosive bursts of air from aged compressors. The plant is expected to close in May 2004, but there is no sign of that as the line moves steadily, 20 feet per minute, 47 cars per hour, including No. 300,000,000.

"I never get tired of this," says German Martin, 39, of Westland. He joined Ford five years ago. But since 2001, he's been one of the guys who puts the pony onthe Mustang. For outsiders, that means he mounts the silvery 6-by-2 1/2-inch pony emblem on the front of most Mustangs that roll out of here.

Martin sheepishly admits that he drives a battered old Nissan -- "I got it before I started here." And the only reason he hasn't dumped it, he says, is that he is saving for a Ford. A Mustang. A Cobra.

"A convertible. Silver. Loaded," he says. "Very sweet."

It's hard to say whether Martin put the pony on the 300 millionth car. It's a ceremonial car, meaning it wasn't really built Tuesday. With 110 factories in 25 countries on six continents manufacturing simultaneously, there was no way Ford could hope to nail downthe actual milestone vehicle.

So they took their third-quarter production figures, projected numbers for the fourth quarter and just picked a car. Conveniently, it was close to home.

No word yet on where the car will end up, though if it is like other commemorative vehicles, it will remain company property and be trotted out for special occasions.

Purists are sure to say that 300 million is exaggeration. And it's true that not all of the vehicles wore the Ford nameplate. But all of them were vehicles manufactured by the Ford Motor Co. In other words, the number includes Volvos manufactured since Ford acquired the company in 1999 and Land Rovers since it was bought in 2000. All the others are there, too; Lincoln (1922), Jaguar (1990), Aston Martin (1987) and Ford-manufactured Mazdas (1992), including the Tribute and Mazda6.

That doesn't make any difference to men and women on the line. What matters is that it is theirs. And that today's Mustangs, according to many who have worked there for years, are the best they've ever built.

"The Mustang is an icon," says Joe Panick, 52, of Detroit, who has spent 31 years at Ford, most of them on the Mustang line. "I love this car or I wouldn't have stayed here so long."

With seven kids, though, he's never owned one.

"I could never get them all in there," he says, "so I've had to own vans and a truck."

But Daniel, his youngest child, turns 19 on Dec. 5 and hopes to join the Coast Guard.

"Maybe it's finally my time, you know?" says Panick.
Tough times

Back at the official party, there's lots of self-congratulation going on.

And while Bill Ford puts on a positive face, he makes only a passing reference to the difficult year the company has experienced.

Like other U.S. manufacturers, Ford's market share has slipped. And just a week ago, Standard & Poor's Corp. downgraded Ford's bond rating to "BBB-minus," one level above junk, but with a stable outlook.

No mention of that Tuesday, though.

"The people who have counted us out recently are going to be surprised by what they see," said Ford. "We'll have 40 new products next year worldwide. And in the next five years, we'll have more than 200 new products worldwide. We're coming back."
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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