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DETROIT - One of the best parts of the North American International Auto Show isn’t just the impressive vehicle lineup, but the strong UAW presence that graces the showroom floor and represents each vehicle that the employees single-handedly worked on.
Gary Martin, Vehicle Service Concern Representative, Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP), couldn’t agree more.
“I think the UAW presence is fabulous,” said Martin. “The support we’ve seen at the show with all of the retirees and individuals that work at other plants are coming in and looking at these cars and it’s almost like a little reunion when we talk to them. It’s fantastic!”
Martin has worked at Ford for 23 years and helped build the new 2013 Ford Escape.
“My favorite part of the Escape has to be the Hands-Free Liftgate,” he said. “All you have to do is wave your foot under the bumper with the key fob in your pocket and the gate opens automatically.”
Everyone checking out the 2013 Escape constantly raved over and asked about the new feature, wanting to see exactly how it works while Martin stood proudly by the vehicle, which he said, is his favorite at this year’s auto show.
“I think that if Ford keeps building better product lines and keeps giving the people what they want, when they want it and at a reasonable price like the company is today – then I think we’re definitely on the right track,” said Martin.
Escape wasn’t the only vehicle keeping Ford on the track to success. The truck display was bold and prominent this year and the UAW members representing them were more than happy to share their thoughts.
“I love the displays,” said Edith Flowers, Local 862 Region 8, Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP). “We have the Expeditions, the Navigators we build down in Kentucky and everyone loves them. The trucks are looking good, people are motivated to purchase them and that makes me feel good as a UAW/Union worker.”
Flowers has worked at KTP for 3 ½ years and currently works on the door line, building the doors for the trucks, including F-350s and F-250s.
“This is my first time working the auto show and I think it’s great,” said Flowers. “People can stop by the Ford exhibit and ask questions about the trucks we build and who would be better to ask than the operator who builds the truck.”
Flowers said that in 2013, she sees Ford going further on the road with the big, American-made trucks.
“I’m meeting a lot of people from different countries and states, especially Ohio, and I’m talking to them about the colors they can get vehicles in and how they can have it specially made because Ford is always into happy customers purchasing their vehicles,” said Flowers. “Customer satisfaction has always come first.”
Perry Nunlee, Dealer Panel Representative, Dearborn Truck Plant (DTP) will be the first to tell you that he knows customer satisfaction first hand. Working in a vehicle personalization center, Nunlee does graphics, skid plates, tonneau covers, bed liners, bug shields – basically, all of the aftermarket jazz you can get on your truck.
“You can get all of that directly from the plant now,” said Nunlee. “We make to order everything you want on your truck right there in the plant.”
Nunlee stood proudly in front of the Ford Raptor that he did the graphics on and applied the kickplates to. Currently, Nunlee does the graphics on two vehicles – Ford FX4 and the Raptor.
This also is Nunlee’s first time working the auto show and he said he loves the experience in addition to the UAW presence in place.
“I hope the presence of the UAW members on the floor is reflecting well on the company because I see a lot of my brothers and sisters out here standing strong,” said Nunlee. “We’re each telling the Ford story by being down here and representing the vehicles we worked on for the company.”
Nunlee wished to express to fellow employees the importance of supporting the company and buying Ford vehicles.
“I think Ford is strong today,” added Nunlee. “As long as we keep safety first, continue to add more innovative ideas in the new products and keep the ideas and creations coming, I think Ford is headed in the right direction in 2013.”