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LOUISVILLE FORD PLANT BUILDS MILLIONTH EXPLORER

 LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A deep forest green 1993 Ford Explorer today rolled from a Louisville assembly line to celebrity status.
 It became the millionth Explorer built within that hot-selling line of compact utility vehicles.
 Ford Motor Company's (NYSE: F) Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) employees cheered and the Dixie Landing Band played. Officials of government, the UAW, Ford and its dealers saluted the milestone.
 "THANKS A MILLION, AMERICA," read a sign over the assembly line of this plant on Fern Valley Road.
 The sign welcomed the latest of Explorer truck production that has meant good things for employment, the local economy and for Ford. LAP added more than 600 employees for Explorer production.
 KEY OFFICIALS PRESENT FOR MILESTONE
 Present for today's upbeat occasion were U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky; Carol Palmore, Kentucky Secretary of Labor; Judge David Armstrong, administrator of Jefferson County; Jerry Abramson, mayor of Louisville, and Ron Gettelfinger, UAW Region 3 director.
 On hand, too, were Kenny Yates, LAP building chairman of UAW Local 862; Gerry Minor, manager of LAP, and Edward E. Hagenlocker, executive vice president-North American Automotive Operations. Metropolitan Louisville Ford dealers represented appreciative dealers from throughout America.
 Sen. Ford said: "The ripple effects from a successful vehicle like the Explorer remind us that the auto industry has a greater effect on the U.S. economy than does any other industry.
 "Domestic auto companies directly account for more than 2 million jobs," he said. "The industry and its suppliers operated 4,400 assembly and parts-manufacturing facilities in the continental U.S. The auto industry remains a key engine of growth throughout North America.
 "The industry drives Kentucky's economy, too," he added. "For example, Ford purchased about $825 million worth of parts from Kentucky- based companies in 1992. That's beyond the millions in payroll, taxes and community contributions Ford plants make to our economy."
 Hagenlocker said: "Ford invested $563 million to bring the Explorer to market. Of that, our $260 million investment at LAP renovated this plant and retrained all new and veteran employees."
 STRONG QUALITY IS THE BOTTOM LINE
 "The investment paid off in quality," Hagenlocker said. "An impressive 91 percent of buyers surveyed said they were completely or very satisfied with their Explorer."
 Yates of the UAW said: "Plant employees are proud to be building two of America's best-selling vehicles, the Explorer and the Ford Ranger pickup truck.
 "We'll stack up our quality here against that of any vehicle built anywhere in the world. America can compete and win," Yates said. "Our employees prove it every day."
 PLANT MANAGER SALUTES EMPLOYEES
 Minor, manager of the 2.9-million-square-foot plant, said: "It's not the plant manager who deserves the pat on the back for Explorer's quality. It's these dedicated men and women who build Explorers with precision and care."
 Displayed during today's festivities was a duplicate of the LAP- built Explorer modified for the movie "Jurassic Park."
 Production of the millionth Explorer was an occasion for other activity at the plant today. Employees' families toured the facility on both day and evening shifts to see mom or dad at work.
 -0- 8/27/93
 /CONTACT: Bert Serre', 313-322-1185, or Tom Boyle, 404-577-2277, both of Ford Motor Company/
 (F)


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

RA-BN -- AT004 -- 6527 08/27/93 10:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 27, 1993
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