Ford Motor Company today marked the opening of its New-Model Quality Center at the historic Rouge site to support the introduction and ensure top quality of the new 2009 F-150 pickup next year.
Located in the renovated historic Dearborn Glass Plant, the New-Model Quality Center is designed to take Ford's quality-focused manufacturing processes to the next level. The center is helping Ford prove out manufacturing, test vehicles and train employees for the next-generation F-150.
Ford's U.S. quality improved by 11 percent -- versus 2 percent for the industry overall -- according to the Global Quality Research System study. Ford also won 14 vehicle honors -- more than any other automaker -- in J.D. Power and Associates' 2007 Initial Quality Study.
"In our design studios, in our product development laboratories and in our manufacturing plants, quality is our top priority," said Fields. "Our teams are showing incredible discipline in following the processes and adhering to the highest standards."
Quality is being designed into the 2009 F-150 at the earliest stages of development using highly advanced digital tools. For example, at Ford's Digital Pre-Assembly laboratory, 18,000 truck design elements are evaluated on computer screens to ensure each part meets Ford's own high standards, shaped by customer input.
Meanwhile, at the company's Virtual Build Center, a launch team of engineers, plant employees and suppliers are "building" the new pickup on virtual assembly lines that replicate the Dearborn Truck and the Kansas City assembly plants, where the new F-150 will be produced in 2008.
Due to the rigorous digital processes, manufacturing issues are being virtually eliminated as the first physical prototypes of the trucks are built. The New-Model Quality Center at the Rouge also will help provide training on key assembly processes for a third of Dearborn Truck's 3,200 employees. Employees will train on workstations built to replicate those in the chassis and final assembly areas. Two workstations allow in-depth study of the 2009 F- 150's new frame. At two additional workstations -- with platforms that raise and lower to the employee's height and job requirements- - employees will learn installation procedures of new parts and components.
The 2009 Ford F-150 will be revealed to the public at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in January.