Ford unveils 2013 Escape to be made in Louisville

The 2013 Ford Escape at the Louisville New Car Show.
The 2013 Ford Escape at the Louisville New Car Show.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  Next month, the Louisville-made Escape will be ready for sale in dealerships, but this morning, it made its Kentuckiana debut at the Louisville auto show. This is much more for the region than just a lot of new cars. The brand new Ford Escape will be made in Louisville, at the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road, which means steady work.

"I think it's beautiful. I like it," said Donald Allen, as he looked at pictures of the new SUV.
A shiny new SUV driving to a promising future for the people who'll build it.

"I'm very excited we've been down lately," said Steven Stone, Chairperson of the Louisville Assembly Plant United Auto Worker's Local 862. "When we shut down for the Explorer, we had 1,100 people. By the end of the year, we'll have 4,200 people  in there working. It's just exciting."

Stone said the announcement means more than just a new car. "Number one, job security," said Stone. "That's the main thing. Because, we  have been laid off with the downturn in the economy. Rebuilding, they're all back to work."

Employees will work seven days a week at the L.A.P once things are full throttle by year's end, said LAP plant manager, John Savona. "We're going to produce, we'll match capacity with customer demand," said Savona. "But, we'll be doing a lot of vehicles. We have a couple hundred thousand units of capacity."

The SUV's carpets are made from recycled soda bottles. The seats: made from soy-based foam.

Jason Sprawka, Escape Brand Manager for the Ford Motor Company, said. "Really thinking about the green environmental impact about our vehicles as well as the best-in-class fuel economy it delivers for our customers."

WAVE 3 found retired L.A.P worker Donald Allen in the showroom at Bill Collins Ford on Bardstown Road. He used to build Ford Explorers. "Ford's always been good to me," said Allen. "I wish that I didn't have to retire and could've stayed a couple more years to help with the new vehicle they've got."

For some, the announcement drives home vindication for the Obama administration's overall auto industry strategy from years ago.

"That we were going to lead the world in new technology for the auto industry and invested a fair amount of money in a loan program that resulted in the re-tooling of the ford plant here," Said Congressman John Yarmuth. "I think it's paying off."

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