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 Heritage Moment: Ford Begins Model T Production in New Kentucky Plant

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Editor's Note: Each Thursday, @Ford Online takes a look back at Ford heritage moments from the company's past. Click here for more heritage articles.​ ​

LOUISVILLE - On Jan. 2, 1916, a new Ford plant in Louisville, Ky., begins production of Model Ts. 

Ford had limited production in Louisville since 1913, but the new plant was capable of building about 7,000 cars per year. 

Below is a timeline of Ford’s more than 100 years of vehicle production at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant.

Louisville Assembly Plant Timeline
1913:  Louisville Ford Sales and Service Branch at 931 South Third Street begins assembly of 12 Model T's per day.

1914:  Construction begun on a new plant at Third and Eastern Parkway.

Jan.  2, 1916:  Production of Model T begins at new plant.  An average of 53 employees produce 7000 vehicles per year.

June 1918-March 1919:  Plant occupied by the U.S. Army Mechanical and Medical Corps.

April 1923:  An addition increases assembly capacity from 85 to 200 vehicles per day.

Feb. 2, 1925:  A new assembly plant is opened at 1400 Western Parkway.  It has a capacity of 400 cars per day.

1937:  A major flood of the Ohio River closes the plant for two months when it is submerged under nine feet of water.

Feb. 15, 1942:  Production of GPW 4x4 army trucks begins.  Civilian car production is ceased on February 24 and civilian truck production on March 31.

Sept.  1945:  Full-scale civilian production resumes.

1953:  Construction begins of the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road at Grade Lane.  The new plant is part of Ford Motor Company's $1.7 billion postwar expansion program.

April 13, 1955:  The last car is assembled at the old plant.  Transfer of more than 150 truckloads of tools, production equipment and office furniture begins.

April 18, 1955:  The first car produced at the Louisville Assembly Plant is received by Kentucky Governor Lawrence Weatherby.  The plant occupies more than 2 million square feet on a 180-acre site.  It has a capacity of 880 cars and trucks per day, on two shifts.

Oct. 18, 1955:  Louisville Assembly Plant is dedicated.  Ford Division general manager Robert S. McNamara delivers the dedication address.

June 1957:  Edsel production added.

Jan.  1958:  Heavy truck production added.

Nov.  15, 1961:  An expansion program to add 90,000 square feet to the Louisville Assembly Plant is announced.

July 30, 1963:  A dinner is held to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of Ford assembly in Louisville and the centennial of Henry Ford's birth.

Sept. 22, 1969:  The last heavy truck built at Louisville Assembly Plant is an ND-1000 diesel tractor.  Medium and heavy truck production is shifted to the newly-opened Kentucky Truck Plant .

April 16, 1973:  Light truck assembly added to car production at Louisville Assembly Plant.

June 12, 1981:  Car assembly ceases, leaving only light truck assembly.  The last car, a gold LTD, is the 3,433,660th passenger car assembled in Louisville since 1913.

September 1981:  Start of a formal Employee Involvement program.

Jan.  18, 1982:  Ranger production begins.

January 1983:  Bronco II production begins.  A total of 820,931 Bronco II's are produced before the end of production in February 1990.

April 15-19, 1983:  Louisville Assembly Plant celebrates the 70th anniversary of Ford assembly in Louisville with an open house attended by over 55,000 visitors.

Aug. 22, 1984:  Louisville Assembly Plant is presented with a U.S. Senate Productivity Award.

May 1985:  Ford announces a new $78-million automated paint operation at Louisville Assembly Plant.

July 1985:  The 1-millionth Ranger is produced.

July 14, 1987:  Ford Motor Company announces a $260 million expansion to prepare for production of a new vehicle.  The vehicle is later revealed as the Explorer.

April 26, 1988:  The 2-millionth Ranger/Bronco II vehicle is produced at Louisville Assembly Plant.

June 13-17, 1988:  Louisville Assembly Plant celebrates the 75th anniversary of Ford in Louisville.

Feb.  14, 1990:  The first Ford Explorer is produced at Louisville Assembly Plant.

May 1991:  Louisville Assembly Plant is awarded Ford Motor Company's prestigious Q1 award.

Aug.  22, 1991:  A new UAW-Ford Education Center is dedicated at Louisville Assembly Plant.

1992:  Production begins of the redesigned Ranger.

November 1992:  A homologation center to modify vehicles for foreign export opens at Louisville Assembly Plant.

May 1993:  Q1 award is recertified.

Aug.  27, 1993:  Louisville Assembly Plant produces the 1-millionth Ford Explorer.

Nov. 29, 1994:  The redesigned Ford Explorer is launched.

April 1996:  Mercury Mountaineer assembly added.

May 30, 1996:  2-millionth Explorer produced.

1999:  The Harbour Report names Louisville Assembly Plant most efficient truck plant.

Feb. 3, 2000:  Louisville Assembly Plant hosts the launch of the Explorer Sport Trac.

Sept. 16, 2002:  The 5-millionth Explorer rolls off the line.

May 14, 2003:  Louisville is one of 100 cities on the Ford Centennial Tour.  The two-day celebration at the Louisville Zoo includes classic and modern vehicle displays.

Dec. 9, 2010:  Ford announces a plan to invest $600 million to modernize and re-tool the Louisville Assembly Plant for production of the new Escape

April 2012: Ford assembly teams prepare for all-new 2013 Escape production, training in simulated factory at Louisville plant.

June 13, 2012:  Ford Motor Company, its employees, dealers and suppliers celebrate production of the all-new Ford Escape at the company’s transformed Louisville Assembly Plant, one of several U.S. manufacturing sites where Ford adds jobs to meet strong customer demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.




1/3/2013 6:15 AM