CLAYCOMO, Mo. - On the afternoon of April 28, production of the 2012 Ford Escape concluded at Kansas City Assembly Plant (KCAP) as employees looked on.
The end of production for the current model was bittersweet at the site, as the Escape had been a staple at KCAP since its introduction in 2000.
While assembled at the plant, the Escape had quite a run. From the very beginning, it made headlines as one of the first vehicles coined as a “small SUV.” It quickly became one of the best-selling vehicles in North America, and received many accolades, including IIHS 5-Star Safety Ratings as well as recommended buys from various organizations.
In 2011 alone, the Escape and Escape HEV were recognized by Consumer Reports as a Recommended Buy. Additionally, sales for the 2012 Escape continued to rise right up to the end of its production.
During 2011, 320,859 Escapes were produced at the Kansas City Assembly Plant, with a record of 254,293 Escapes sold, which was a 33 percent increase over the previous year, making it America’s best-selling vehicle in its segment.
More than 2 million Escapes have been sold during the last 11-years in the U.S. alone, with its best quarter ever coming at the very end of its life. In the first quarter of 2012, 58,604 Escapes were sold in the U.S., a record over any previous quarter.
When the last Escape rolled of the line at KCAP, employees took a moment to pause, congratulate one another on a job well done, take pictures, and finally, celebrate all of the hard work they have put into the extraordinary production run.
Loy English, current Transit Launch manager and previous SUV Launch manager, has been with the Escape since its initial design, development and facilities installation at the plant back in 1997.
“It became a solid performer in terms of production and quality. It was a fun-to-drive vehicle that handled well in all sorts of weather conditions and especially handled well in snow,” said English.
Needless to say, the employees at KCAP are sorry to see the Escape go, but look forward to building the Transit commercial van, which the plant will being producing next year.
The legacy of the Escape at KCAP will surely lead the employees into the next successful vehicle launch.
KCAP employees are up for the challenge and have proven they have what it takes to produce some of the best-selling, highest quality vehicles in North America.