Ford celebrates Rouge complex centennial

Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, left, and Rory Gamble, vice president, UAW, right, congratulate Willie Fulton, Jr., on 65 years at Ford. Fulton is the longest tenured employee at the company.

Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, left, and Rory Gamble, vice president, UAW, right, congratulate Willie Fulton, Jr., on 65 years at Ford. Fulton is the longest tenured employee at the company.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Over 100 years and thousands of vehicles later, Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge complex stands tall with 7,500 employees working three shifts to manufacture F-150 pickup trucks.

A new truck rolls off the end of the assembly line every 53 seconds.

The complex was first used to produce Eagle Boats for the U.S. Navy during Word War I in 1918, and by the 1930s more than 100,000 workers would enter the complex to complete their shift at the $5 a-day wage Henry Ford offered.

During a celebration held Sept. 27 at the complex, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford reflected on the history that has been made there.

“To us, it’s more than a factory,” Ford said. “It’s a source of pride for generations of workers who have built the best cars and trucks in the world. It’s an all-American symbol of strength, opportunity, and hope, a place where we’ve always been creating tomorrow together.”

Following the production of more than 28 vehicle models over the years, the complex’s Dearborn Truck Plant will create hybrid-electric 2020 F-150 models.

“Just as the Rouge has been a harbinger of progress for a century, Ford is committed to ensuring our trucks continue to power the world in a sustainable way – whether they are powered by EcoBoost engines, hybrid powertrains, or are fully electric,” Ford said.

The Rogue complex will use the latest technologies in robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality due to Ford’s newly opened $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford Township.

In addition to the Redford center, a $35 million expansion of the UAW-Ford training facility near the Rouge complex will remain “a plant known for innovation, sustainability, efficiency and prosperity as it heads into its second century,” according to Ford Motor Co.

According to Ford Motor Co., the Rouge complex currently uses sustainable production and generates zero-waste-to-landfill; the plant’s internal aluminum recycling system processes 12 million pounds monthly; and Rouge features one of the world’s largest living roofs, an on-site orchard and 80,000 honeybees.

The car company has plans to launch a volunteer program with the Friends of the Rogue organization for a collaboration to clean up trash, remove vegetation and participate in hikes highlighting the area’s history.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com)

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