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'MOD SQUAD' HELPS FORD EXPORT EXPLORERS TO EUROPE

 LOUISVILLE, Ky. Nov. 24 ~PRNewswire~ -- Ford Motor Company's (NYSE: F) Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) today marked the opening of its Vehicle Modification Center to modify annually 6,000 Ford Explorers, beginning with present 1993 models, for export to Europe.
 At the "Mod Center," its 10 autonomous hourly employees, nicknamed the "Mod Squad" today were the stars of the show.
 Present at today's ceremonial event, complete with the cutting of a cake in the shape of a Ford Explorer, were Andy Jacobson, Ford's North American truck design director; Les Tischler, plant manager; Jim Franke, "Mod Squad" representative, and Steve Stone, chairman of UAW Local 862, which represents employees at the plant.
 "LAP has become the first Ford assembly plant in the country to have a dedicated on-site facility to modify American-built products for export for European markets," said Tischler.
 "Ford invested $500,000 to convert and equip an existing 7,000- square-foot building on the plant site. Modifications permit the Explorers, built only at LAP, to comply with the rules and regulations of the European countries in which they will be sold," he said.
 Tischler complimented the Mod Squad. "They work with a facilitator, not a supervisor. These employees are a group which, given this unique responsibility, does an outstanding job, almost completely on its own.
 "Each employee has been trained to complete all the necessary modifications -- headlight adjustment, change of wiper blades for Autobahn travel, etc. Afterward, each employee 'buys off' on the quality of the work. He uses his own stamp of approval, bearing his name, in stamping his sign-off sticker on the windshield.
 "Only then do we place the 'okay-to-ship' sticker on the windshield," said Tischler.
 He added: "The employees at this plant are proud to be the first to handle the modification assignment from start to finish. Previously, it was done by an off-site, non-Ford Mod Center.
 "First, this plant was assigned the Explorer production and now it has the added responsibility to support Ford's North American Export Sales efforts to sell it to other parts of the world. We are pleased to have an active role in this major challenge.
 "Our on-site Mod Center helps make Ford fully competitive, ensuring superior quality and reducing the cost of products modified for export. This procedure also gets the vehicle to the dealer and the customer more efficiently and quickly because Ford Explorers have the 'stamp of approval' of meeting the European Community standards when they leave the Louisville plant," said Tischler.
 Ford exports Explorers to Europe, the Middle-East Gulf Cooperative Council countries, Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico and Latin America.
 Ford's North American Export Sales component will continue to seek new markets for Ford's products. Export sales strengthen Ford's domestic manufacturing base and complement the product line-ups of local Ford companies around the world.
 North American Export Sales has 68 direct markets around the world, selling Ford's North American-built products through its more than 170 dealers.
 Shipments of North American-built Ford cars and trucks to export markets increased 19 percent during the first nine months of 1992, over the same period last year. Ford's worldwide export shipments of North American-built vehicles totaled 32,139 vehicles through September 1992.
 Ford Export officials report increased worldwide recognition of quality, style and value of Ford's North American vehicles. For example, customers in Germany, noted for being very discerning of auto quality, have significantly increased their Explorer orders.
 -0- 11~24~92
 ~CONTACT: Tom Boyle of Ford Motor Company, 404-577-2277~
 (F)


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

EA-TG -- AT002 -- 0901 11~24~92 09:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 24, 1992
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