New Version Of America's Best-selling Truck To Be Produced At New Dearborn Plant
The star of America’s best-selling Ford F-Series truck lineup, the new Ford F-150, soon will have a new home at one of Ford’s most historic locations, when production of the truck begins at the Ford Rouge Center’s new Dearborn Truck Plant in 2004.
Ford also is showcasing its new flexible production system. “Just as the F-Series has defined the truck market for more than 26 years, our all-new flexible manufacturing system introduces a new era of flexible manufacturing at Ford,” said Roman Krygier, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Quality.
The Dearborn Truck Plant is among the first of several Ford plants to install a next-generation flexible assembly system, allowing it to build up to nine different models off three platforms. It will be Ford’s most flexible plant globally.
“Dearborn Truck will have the ability to change the mix, volume and options of products in response to consumer demand and market segmentation – all with minimal investment and changeover loss,” Krygier said.
During the next decade, Ford expects to save $1.5 to 2 billion because its flexible system will cost 10 percent to 15 percent less than traditional systems, with an added 50 percent savings in changeover costs.
2004 Ford F-150
Tough, capable and powerful, the F-Series has been the best-selling full-size pickup in the United States for 26 years and the nation’s best-selling vehicle for 21 years running.
When the new 2004 F-150 hits showrooms this fall, customers will discover a broad range of overarching product enhancements. The truck’s strong backbone – the industry’s stiffest, fully boxed frame -- gives it great handling precision. Its wider track provides great stability, and the all-new coil-over-shock front suspension system provides a greater sense of control. Other enhancements include:
Stronger stance and style - The new F-150 features an all-new design, with a bold exterior shape that exemplifies Ford truck toughness and capability. The interiors boldly take the full-size pickup into a new dimension of comfort and refinement.
Power - Ford’s new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 engine produces 300 peak horsepower – a 15-percent improvement over the previous award-winning 5.4-liter engine, and 365 foot-pounds of torque for improved low-speed and peak pulling power. Mated with the new 4R75E transmission for smoother shifts and improved fuel efficiency, the 5.4L 3V also contributes to a quieter cab environment for F-150 customers.
Even tougher- The fully boxed frame is approximately nine times stiffer torsionally than its tough predecessor, providing the foundation for enhancements in durability, safety, driving dynamics and refined, quiet ride.
Superior driving experience - Tremendous attention to detail has been applied to the chassis of the F-150 to deliver a confident, capable driving experience. F-150’s newly designed rear suspension, featuring outboard shock, is among the details that contribute to more confident and precise handling both in everyday driving and while towing a trailer.
Increased interior spaciousness - Regular Cab and SuperCab models have a passenger compartment that is six inches longer, providing more space inside for occupants and their gear. For SuperCab models, that extra length means increased rear-seat comfort for three adults. In the Regular Cab, it means 13 inches of secure storage space behind the seat.
Greater access - Reflecting consumer demand for ease of access for both people and cargo, Regular Cab models feature new, class-exclusive access doors that open up new stowage possibilities and accessibility behind the seat.
More cargo capacity - The new F-150’s cargo box is 2 inches deeper, providing greater cargo volume. Plus, a new class-exclusive Tailgate Assist feature, which is standard across the lineup, helps owners of all statures open and close the gate.
Enhanced safety - Inherent strength and toughness, plus the F-150 Personal Safety System’s™ new occupant sensing technology for the front outboard passenger, makes the all-new F-150 a strong choice for safety. It has been engineered to exceed the rigorous new federal government safety standard, FMVSS 208, which governs air bag and off-set crash performance.
Flexibility is Front and Center at Dearborn Truck
The new Dearborn Truck Plant will showcase Ford’s use of a world-class flexible manufacturing system. Ford’s flexible body shops employ an industry-first system of 16 standardized cells, or modules, all built from about 300 components. Only product-specific tooling needs to be changed, or computers and robots reprogrammed, to launch new products.
By mid-decade in North America, about half of Ford’s body shops, trim and final assembly operations will be flexible. That number rises to 75 percent by the end of the decade.
Ford’s Norfolk (Va.) Assembly Plant began building the new Ford F-150 in June. The Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant will begin building the new 2004 Ford F-150 later this summer. Other plants to install the flexible system include the Chicago (Ill.) Assembly Plant, which will build the all-new 2005 Ford Freestyle, Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego; and AutoAlliance International (Flat Rock, Mich.), which is slated to add the new 2005 Mustang to its production in 2004.
Ford’s new flexible system standardizes the assembly process, which improves productivity through reduced changeover downtime. Standardization helps improve quality through increased repeatability. Plus, improved ease of access results in improved safety and ergonomics for operators and maintenance crews
The Dearborn Truck Plant’s assembly system will be able to handle three distinct platforms while producing three derivatives off each platform. The lines can be configured to accommodate front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, unitized-body and body-on-frame vehicles.
The same type of standardization found in the new body shops also is being employed in final assembly. Final assembly operations have a standard sequence, with standardized workstations that can be changed or modified quickly and easily to accommodate new vehicle options or features.