Automotive Intelligence - the web for automotive professionals and car enthusiasts
June 06, 2008
Reaction to Ford’s newest crossover has been strong, a point celebrated by attendees of the launch ceremony including hockey great Wayne Gretzky who emerged from a 2009 Ford Flex.
“The team here at Oakville continues to be at the top of their game,” Gretzky said. “By working together, they are building a great success story.”
Innovative Virtual Manufacturing
The 2009 Ford Flex, the first Ford product fully developed under the Global Product Development System, also was among the first Ford vehicles to fully utilize digital design and manufacturing technology to ensure high quality at every stage of the vehicle’s development.
By running thousands of engineering checks in the vehicle’s digital pre-assembly phase, the product team dramatically reduced the number of potential manufacturing concerns, helping ensure Flex will meet the highest customer expectations in every market where it’s sold.
“We continue to raise the bar on ourselves with standardized quality-driven processes in all areas of the company – design, product development, manufacturing and customer service,” said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “Now Ford’s quality is on par with the best in the industry. Our unrelenting commitment to world-class quality guides everything we do.”
Oakville Assembly Complex is an example of how Ford is moving toward flexible manufacturing across its North American operations. The plant produces two unique vehicle platforms in its flexible body shop.
Edge, Flex and the Lincoln MKX come down the same assembly line. This flexible system means the plant can efficiently adapt to shifts in consumer demand.
“The news couldn’t be better for the Oakville operations,” said Barry Engle, Ford of Canada president and CEO. “The products are selling as fast as we can build them. We’re adding another show-stopper vehicle, and we’re creating new employment.”
In 2005, the 5.4 million square-foot (486,000 m2) plant began a $1 billion conversion to flexible manufacturing, including a state-of-the-art body assembly facility. As a flexible plant, OAC can build multiple models on unique architectures enabling the plant to change the mix, volume and options of products more quickly in response to consumer demand – representing a new level of market-driven manufacturing agility.
(June 3, 2008)