FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2001

Lila White
www.thedigitaldominion.com
(804) 692-3110


Cheryl Eberwein
Ford Motor Co.
(313) 845-9181
Jill Lawrence
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces Major Expansion At Ford Motor Company's Norfolk Plant
-3 year, $375 million investment -


NORFOLK - Governor Jim Gilmore and Ford Motor Company today announced the expansion of its Norfolk assembly plant with the addition of a 350,000 square-foot body shop. This expansion will generate up to 200 new jobs over today’s employment level of 2,400. During the next three years, Ford will invest approximately $375 million to expand the Norfolk facility, which assembles the popular F-150 pickup trucks.

“One of my highest economic development priorities has been to foster a business climate that encourages Virginia’s corporate citizens to expand their operations here in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Gilmore. “Ford’s decision to do just that is immensely beneficial to the Hampton Roads area and the Commonwealth as a whole.”

Governor Gilmore approved a $3 million grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program to assist Ford with the expansion. The VIP program is designed to offer financial assistance to existing Virginia companies. The Governor also approved a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Norfolk with site preparation. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the City of Norfolk assisted Ford Motor Company with its decision.

Nationally, Ford Motor Company sold 876,716 F-Series pickup trucks last year, and they have been the best selling vehicle in the United States for the past 19 years. Ford's Norfolk facility produced approximately 240,000 F-Series pickup trucks last year. The plant is among the company's oldest assembly operations and originally produced Model T cars when it first opened in 1925.

“Expansion of our Norfolk Assembly Plant allows Ford to further refine its commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative manufacturing practices and world-class products,” said Anne Stevens, Vice President of Ford’s North American Assembly Operations. “Norfolk is one of Ford's lead manufacturing facilities, and we have cascaded the best practices it has established across the rest of the company. I am proud of the dedication, quality and collaboration Norfolk's employees put into F-series trucks and their community.”

“We have been part of the Norfolk community for over 75 years and are extremely pleased with the state and local support we have received through the years,” said Mike Hom, Plant Manager at Norfolk Assembly. “This expansion will help us maintain world-class productivity and quality levels at Norfolk. It allows us to capitalize on an outstanding workforce and an outstanding product.”

“The expansion of Ford Motor Company’s Norfolk plant is a testament to the power of partnership between state and local officials,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. “Virginia will benefit from the new jobs and the capital investment associated with Ford’s expansion, and the Commonwealth is pleased to be a part of the ongoing growth of such a dynamic corporate citizen.”

Mayor Paul D. Fraim added, “For more than 75 years, the city has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Ford Motor Company and the world-class employees who work at Ford’s Norfolk Assembly Plant. We are exceedingly proud that Ford has determined to grow and strengthen that relationship by making the largest single investment in the history of Norfolk.”


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