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FORD ST. LOUIS PLANT TO BUILD EXPLORER

 HAZELWOOD, Mo., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) plans to invest close to $400 million to convert its assembly plant in this St. Louis suburb to produce the Ford Explorer.
 Employees received the news today from Alex Trotman, president and chief operating officer of the Ford Automotive Group.
 Trotman told employees there were a number of factors taken into account before the decision was reached, including the assumption that a new local labor agreement would be negotiated and ratified by employees.
 "We want to increase our production capacity for the popular Ford Explorer and we're looking for greater flexibility in our light truck manufacturing system in North America," he said.
 The Ford Explorer, the fifth best selling vehicle in the United States in 1992, also will continue to be built at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. The Ford Ranger compact pickup and the Mazda Navajo also are built at Louisville.
 "This program, coupled with other changes recently implemented or announced, will allow Ford to react more quickly to consumer and dealer orders for our light trucks," Trotman said.
 "Over the last 45 years, you have demonstrated that you are adaptable to change, that you are applying the principles of continuous improvement and that you are capable of producing quality products," Trotman told employees.
 The company and the bargaining committee of UAW Local 325 are currently discussing detailed language for the new local agreement which will require ratification by employees.
 Production of the Ford Aerostar minivan at St. Louis will continue through the end of the 1994 model year. Re-tooling and re-equipping the St. Louis Plant would begin in August 1994 and production of the Ford Explorer would begin in January 1995.
 Trotman said the investment in St. Louis for production of the Explorer would ensure employment levels approximately the same as today -- 2,500.
 Through the end of 1992, St. Louis employees have produced more than 1.4 million Ford Aerostars for the United States, Canadian and export markets since production began in July 1985.
 The St. Louis Plant, opened in 1948, is located on a 113-acre site and covers almost 2.3 million square feet.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Bright, 214-528-7120, or Bill Carroll, 313-322-1300, both of Ford Motor Company/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Missouri IN: AUT SU:

GK -- NY064 -- 1348 02/01/93 11:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:395
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