CLAYCOMO, Mo. – Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant (KCAP) welcomed President Barack Obama Friday as he visited the plant with positive remarks about the company. This noteworthy visit comes after the $1.1 billion investment Ford made to the facility over the last two years, which brought a surge of upgrades to the plant and provided an influx of jobs to the Kansas City community.
Last year, KCAP produced more than 211,300 Ford F-150 trucks and continues to produce 1,150 units per day. A major component to the product’s consumer demand is the boost taking place in the housing market and its impact on economic development.
Standing in front of a large American flag and a number of employees inside Kansas City Assembly Plant’s Integrated Stamping Facility, the president praised the products produced there and the people behind their assembly.
“The American auto industry is the heartbeat of manufacturing,” he said. “The auto industry was flat-lining but Ford was standing on its own two feet and making some smart decisions.”
Obama also highlighted the progress the automotive industry has made since the onslaught of the financial crisis in 2007-2008.
“We worked with labor. We worked with management. Everyone made some sacrifices and everyone put some skin in the game,” he said. “We bet on the American worker and today that bet has paid off because the American auto industry has come rolling back.”
The president discussed the work America has made to rebuild the economy and the continued endurance it will take to keep productivity as well as success within reach.
“The fundamental idea is that when some of us are doing well, it is okay, but when everyone has a stake, that is when things really get rolling,” he said. “We’ve been working. We’ve cleared away the rubble of the crisis; we’ve laid the foundation for economic growth and a new foundation for prosperity.”
Obama applauded the endurance of the automotive industry and Ford Motor Company.
“We’ve shown the world that the American people are tough, they are resilient. The only thing built tougher than Ford trucks are American workers,” he said.
The plant employs over 3,500 hourly employees and has future plans to onboard an additional 1,000 crewmembers to the workforce in January 2014. Last August, the plant initiated a third shift, also referred to as a “C-Crew” operating pattern to meet the growing demand of the company’s award-winning F-150 truck.
“Everyone from UAW LOCAL 249 was honored to host President Obama,” said Todd Hillyard, Bargaining chairman, UAW LOCAL 249 . “We believe the workforce here in Kansas City is second to none and his visit to highlight our plant’s success and our vehicles was no accident.”
The president also expressed his pride in the KCAP’s workforce.
“We’re not just building more cars; we’re building better cars, better trucks,” he said. “Look at what is going on right here at your plant. The new F-150 is built better than ever, more fuel-efficient than ever, and you have trouble making them fast enough.”
The plant will soon be home to the Ford Transit, full-size van which will go into full production and provide as many as an additional 1,100 jobs in January 2014. Once the retooling process is complete and Transit is in full production, another sought-after product will be added to the selection of green, quality, safe, smart vehicles Ford Motor Company and Kansas City Assembly Plant are known for and this plant will continue making an impact on America in a positive way one truck at a time.
“President Obama’s visit was a great exposure to a lot of our visitors to the plant and the employees,” said Jim Jenkins, assistant plant manager, Transit, KCAP. “It was awesome to host his speech in our stamping facility, whether part of the Transit program or not, this is Kansas City Assembly and it was a great day for the plant.”