LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville business leaders got the inside scoop from Ford chief who was the keynote speaker at Greater Louisville Inc's annual meeting.
It was a night meant to inspire. "I just have one thing I want to communicate tonight, I think Louisville and Ford rock," said Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company.
Mulally spoke to the business community about how his company was able to prevail during the recent economic crisis. "We made some really big decisions a little over four years ago," said Mulally. "One was to decide to focus on the Ford brand."
Ford was the only major American car maker that didn't take a government bailout. Now as the automaker continues to flourish, some of that growth is happening right here at home.
"This is a very special time for Louisville, but it is also a very special time for Ford," said Mulally.
Ford is investing $600-million in the Louisville Assembly Plant, creating 1800 jobs. "Taking that plant from one of the least flexible and advanced manufacturing plants in their system to the most flexible technologically advanced plants in the world," said Joe Reagan, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.
At the Louisville Assembly Plant, production will start on the new version of the Escape. The Ford Vertrek will get 30 percent better gas mileage than the Escape. Ford makes a huge economic impact on Kentucky and southern Indiana.
"Not only the $600-million for the Escape sized vehicle, but also the $300-million we have also put in for the F-series, the number one selling vehicle in the world- 34 years- and you make it right here in Louisville," said Mulally.
During a time when gas prices continue to soar and the economy is still a bit rocky, it's some encouraging news, and Mayor Greg Fischer looks to keep it going. "We need to complete the Louisville Assembly Plant and when that facility is open we need to put out the best automobiles in the world, that's what Ford is looking for bottom line," said Fischer.
Work continues at LAP, getting it ready for Vertrek production to begin in the fall. Just last week some major equipment was brought in by helicopter, and leaders told us they're making major progress on the retooling.
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