Ford Truck Assembly Plant
After Ford won our 2012 Dream Truck Survey last September, we renewed our efforts to tour the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky. As luck would have it, we were granted permission to tour the facility on the Friday after the National RV Trade Show in Louisville closed.
There were no restrictions on where we could go or what we could photograph during our four hour behind-the-scenes tour. Within the limitations of safety, we had free rein of the facility and full access to anything we wanted to see.
We arrived at the plant about ten minutes early and parked our 2009 Ford Focus in the Ford Visitor Parking lot. As you would expect, the building complex was enormous. What you wouldn’t expect is that someone put a red Ford truck on the roof. Now that’s go anywhere!
Upon entering the building, we found a large room with historical photographs, portraits, and awards from the plant’s forty-three year history. There was also a prominently placed blue sign that stated (in all caps), “FOR SECURITY REASONS, THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC, PERSONAL, OR EDUCATIONAL TOURS AVAILABLE AT KENTUCKY TRUCK PLANT”.
With no receptionist in sight and no one else in the room, we were starting to feel like we were in the wrong place. Then Angela saw an old computer and phone complete with instructions on how to contact someone within the plant. Navigating the computer and its heavily burned-in CRT monitor, she looked up our contact, Todd Ashton, New Model Launch Manager.
Angela was unable to reach Todd, but we were soon rescued by Tim Sanders, Hazmat Safety Trainer, who came through a door within the facility. Tim’s broad smile and warm greeting quickly put us at ease. Yes, we were in the right place. Yes, they were expecting us. And yes, Tim was going to take us to meet Todd for our tour.
Tim led us though a small labyrinth of cubicles to Todd’s office a short distance later. Todd was also very welcoming and brought us to an auditorium that appeared ready for at least two hundred people. Angela and I took two front row seats and Tim fired up a projector for a plant safety video followed by a few slides about the history and statistics of the facility. The safety video said to stay within the designated yellow paths, to stay out of the areas marked in red, and to wear protective gear. Got it.
The slides gave us an overview of the history and scope of the Kentucky Truck Plant. The six million square foot facility is located on 400 acres and employs 4, 012 employees (3, 829 hourly and 183 salaried). Since opening in 1969, the factory has produced about seven million vehicles and currently manufactures the Ford F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.