This past Saturday, Aug 23, signaled a major transition for the Ford Motor Company and its all-important truck business, both literally and figuratively. The last steel-bodied 2014 model rolled off the Dearborn Truck line while little time was wasted in removing old tooling and equipment in preparation for production of the all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 model, the Detroit Free Press reports. The retooling effort will reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $359 million and will close the plant until September 22, when the updated line to produce the 2015 model is scheduled to start production.
The logistical scope of the project is so large that Ford is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to schedule and coordinate deliveries of new equipment and haul-aways of the old equipment from the plant to minimize their impact on traffic. The changeover to the new aluminum body will result in the temporary layoff of 3,000 workers, while 1,500 skilled trade workers from within Ford and from suppliers race to meet the September 22 deadline of getting the new production tooling installed.
The Kansas City plant will continue to build the steel-bodied F-150 through the end of calendar-year 2014 and will then undergo a similar transformation as Dearborn Truck in early 2015 as it transitions to build the aluminum-bodied model. Kansas City also builds the new-for-the-U.S. Ford Transit fullsize van.
Source: Detroit Free Press