DETROIT - When attendees enter the Ford stand at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), they’re greeted by an even more engaging and interactive display floor than in previous years.
Most importantly, the impressive stand and lineup of vehicles are enhanced with knowledgeable UAW-Ford representatives who have firsthand knowledge about the vehicles they build in their respective plants. Click here to watch interviews with some of the representatives.
“By having our UAW-Ford employees from the various plants on the auto show floor, we offer the public an opportunity to talk to the men and women who are actually building the products,” said Bob Rosinski, manager, Quality, UAW-Ford National Programs Center. “It always astonishes me when someone asks one of our employees, ‘Do you really build this product?’ These potential customers are simply blown away by this involvement as the UAW-Ford employees add significant ‘street cred‘ as they describe the quality and passion they place in each and every vehicle produced.”
Show attendees often surround the many Ford products on display, taking turns entering and exiting the vehicles, testing the sturdiness of various product parts and even getting down at ground level to check out a vehicle’s undercarriage. For questions that their thorough vehicle inspection may not answer, UAW-Ford employees are stationed close by to offer additional insight, demonstrating the significance of their presence at the auto show each year.
“We have a lot of customers that don’t want to talk to a sales person, but they have a lot of information that they want to know about each vehicle,” said Angela Runner, UAW liaison, Quality, Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP). “Then, the second that we say we’re the UAW workers who personally handle the product inside of the plant, their behavior completely changes. Suddenly, they are more open to discussion and conversation, and also more receptive to all of our answers.”
Having the UAW-Ford employee presence available provides a face behind the Blue Oval; a person people can better relate to and even trust.
“I think the UAW presence is always important because the workforce that builds the car can show the pride that they have in their jobs,” said Ralph Arning, resident engineer, Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD), Flat Rock Assembly Plant. “Everybody that works in all of our facilities really puts their heart and soul into their jobs - from the designers, the engineers, the workforce in the plant – we all work together to make outstanding, world-class products.”
NAIAS is the perfect opportunity for employees to advocate the product they work on all year-round, or in Arning’s case, all throughout life.
Standing proudly in front of the 2015 Ford Mustang, Arning recalled a fond Ford Mustang memory of his. “My Mustang memory goes back more than 50 years. My father was involved in the development of the original Mustang over 50 years ago where he was the chassis engineer,” he explained. “In fact, we have the 1962 Mustang Two-Seater prototype here at the show and my father did the suspension on that car back in ’62 so I’ve been working with the Mustang pretty much all of my life.”
Arning raved over the style of the new model and expressed great appreciation toward Ford for keeping the heritage of the original Mustang in the design.
“I’m very impressed with the new chassis, the new independent suspension and the outstanding dynamics of the car when you drive it - it’s just a phenomenal car,” he said. “It’s a game-changer Ford Mustang.”
Joseph Barnak, tag relief and material handling, Dearborn Truck Plant (DTP), couldn’t agree more in terms of keeping aspects of the original pony car in the design.
“I was worried when I initially heard Ford was redoing the design, but after I got a chance to see it and saw that they added some modern elements to it, but still kept some of the old design to it, I really like it,” he said.
Barnak currently works on the 2015 Ford F-150 at DTP and claims, like the Mustang, that he can’t wait to see these products on the road.
“My favorite part of the F-150 is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine,” said Barnak. “I can really tell the difference and people seem to be happy with it compared to what they used to have.”
And better fuel economy isn’t the only upside to the changes made on the all-new F-150. Positive buzz floating around other vehicle features, such as improved towing capability, has made its way back to Barnak and the general consensus of the public is that consumers are genuinely impressed with the new product Ford has to offer.
“I think Ford has gone out of its way to make the F-150 better,” said Barnak. “We’re not just talking about the aluminum they use in the body to make it lighter either, but also strengthening up the frame, making it a little wider – it’s just little things like that. The angles, edges and lines of the body really toughen up the truck.”
Chad Daggy, supervisor, Vehicle Operations, DTP, also works on the F-150 and takes great pride in the fact that Ford has once again gone above and beyond and continues to think outside the box.
“Not only did we improve on quality this year, even after raising the bar last year, but we’re continuing to raise the bar yet again,” said Daggy. “Right now, we’re currently the leading seller in this division with the quality of the vehicle we produce. When looking at the 2015 model, it’s really impressive to see how Ford continues to go further based solely on the high expectations the company sets for itself.”
Bonnie Ferrell, process coach, Paint, Chicago Assembly Plant (CAP), says she thinks the F-150 is going to give the RAM truck a run for its money.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to come down and represent Ford and the vehicles I work on each day,” said Ferrell. “This is a wonderful thing to be a part of, especially when you get a chance to hear customer feedback firsthand. I mean, we see the paperwork and the warranty data, but to be right here, listening to the customers or even potential buyers – it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Representing Ford products on the showroom floor gives UAW-Ford employees a chance to leave the auto show with more than the knowledge they initially brought in with them.
“If my workforce from LAP, or any of the assembly plants, could be here to hear all of the wonderful things customers have to say about each product line, they would be amazed at how much the public appreciates the products our company puts forth,” said Runner. “We have brought so many people over to the Ford line, whether they came from Chrysler, GM, Toyota or Honda, and it’s in large part to the care we place in our products.”
Go Further isn’t just Ford’s global brand promise, but much more than that – these words are ingrained in our company DNA along with the people who proudly represent the products we produce.
“Again, it’s Ford just going a little bit further than everyone else,” said Arning. “This is just evidence again of how much Ford looks forward and continuously goes just a little bit further than everyone else.”