TIMELINE: Ford's 100 years in Louisville


by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 7:09 PM

Below is a timeline of Ford’s more than 100 years of vehicle production at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant, courtesy Ford Motor Company

Louisville Assembly Plant Timeline
1913:  Louisville Ford Sales and Service Branch at 931 South Third Street begins assembly of 12 Model T's per day.

1914:  Construction begun on a new plant at Third and Eastern Parkway.

Jan.  2, 1916:  Production of Model T begins at new plant.  An average of 53 employees produce 7000 vehicles per year.

June 1918-March 1919:  Plant occupied by the U.S. Army Mechanical and Medical Corps.

April 1923:  An addition increases assembly capacity from 85 to 200 vehicles per day.

Feb. 2, 1925:  A new assembly plant is opened at 1400 Western Parkway.  It has a capacity of 400 cars per day.

1937:  A major flood of the Mississippi River closes the plant for two months when it is submerged under nine feet of water.

Feb. 15, 1942:  Production of GPW 4x4 army trucks begins.  Civilian car production is ceased on February 24 and civilian truck production on March 31.

Sept.  1945:  Full-scale civilian production resumes.

1953:  Construction begins of the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road at Grade Lane.  The new plant is part of Ford Motor Company's $1.7 billion postwar expansion program.

April 13, 1955:  The last car is assembled at the old plant.  Transfer of more than 150 truckloads of tools, production equipment and office furniture begins.

April 18, 1955:  The first car produced at the Louisville Assembly Plant is received by Kentucky Governor Lawrence Weatherby.  The plant occupies more than 2 million square feet on a 180-acre site.  It has a capacity of 880 cars and trucks per day, on two shifts.

Oct. 18, 1955:  Louisville Assembly Plant is dedicated.  Ford Division general manager Robert S. McNamara delivers the dedication address.

June 1957:  Edsel production added.

Jan.  1958:  Heavy truck production added.

Nov.  15, 1961:  An expansion program to add 90,000 square feet to the Louisville Assembly Plant is announced.

July 30, 1963:  A dinner is held to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of Ford assembly in Louisville and the centennial of Henry Ford's birth.

Sept. 22, 1969:  The last heavy truck built at Louisville Assembly Plant is an ND-1000 diesel tractor.  Medium and heavy truck production is shifted to the newly-opened Kentucky Truck Plant .

April 16, 1973:  Light truck assembly added to car production at Louisville Assembly Plant.

June 12, 1981:  Car assembly ceases, leaving only light truck assembly.  The last car, a gold LTD, is the 3,433,660th passenger car assembled in Louisville since 1913.

September 1981:  Start of a formal Employee Involvement program.

Jan.  18, 1982:  Ranger production begins.

January 1983:  Bronco II production begins.  A total of 820,931 Bronco II's are produced before the end of production in February 1990.

April 15-19, 1983:  Louisville Assembly Plant celebrates the 70th anniversary of Ford assembly in Louisville with an open house attended by over 55,000 visitors.

Aug. 22, 1984:  Louisville Assembly Plant is presented with a U.S. Senate Productivity Award.

May 1985:  Ford announces a new $78-million automated paint operation at Louisville Assembly Plant.

July 1985:  The 1-millionth Ranger is produced.

July 14, 1987:  Ford Motor Company announces a $260 million expansion to prepare for production of a new vehicle.  The vehicle is later revealed as the Explorer.

April 26, 1988:  The 2-millionth Ranger/Bronco II vehicle is produced at Louisville Assembly Plant.

June 13-17, 1988:  Louisville Assembly Plant celebrates the 75th anniversary of Ford in Louisville.

Feb.  14, 1990:  The first Ford Explorer is produced at Louisville Assembly Plant.

May 1991:  Louisville Assembly Plant is awarded Ford Motor Company's prestigious Q1 award.

Aug.  22, 1991:  A new UAW-Ford Education Center is dedicated at Louisville Assembly Plant.

1992:  Production begins of the redesigned Ranger.

November 1992:  A homologation center to modify vehicles for foreign export opens at Louisville Assembly Plant.

May 1993:  Q1 award is recertified.

Aug.  27, 1993:  Louisville Assembly Plant produces the 1-millionth Ford Explorer.

Nov. 29, 1994:  The redesigned Ford Explorer is launched.

April 1996:  Mercury Mountaineer assembly added.

May 30, 1996:  2-millionth Explorer produced.

1999:  The Harbour Report names Louisville Assembly Plant most efficient truck plant.

Feb. 3, 2000:  Louisville Assembly Plant hosts the launch of the Explorer Sport Trac.

Sept. 16, 2002:  The 5-millionth Explorer rolls off the line.

May 14, 2003:  Louisville is one of 100 cities on the Ford Centennial Tour.  The two-day celebration at the Louisville Zoo includes classic and modern vehicle displays.

Dec. 9, 2010:  Ford announces a plan to invest $600 million to modernize and re-tool the Louisville Assembly Plant for production of the new Escape

April 2012: Ford assembly teams prepare for all-new 2013 Escape production, training in simulated factory at Louisville plant.

June 13, 2012:  Ford Motor Company, its employees, dealers and suppliers celebrate production of the all-new Ford Escape at the company’s transformed Louisville Assembly Plant, one of several U.S. manufacturing sites where Ford adds jobs to meet strong customer demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.