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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Ford Motor Company is being honored for its 100th anniversary in Louisville.
From the Model T to the Escape, Ford has a long history in Louisville. Louisville operations began in 1913, producing twelve Model T vehicles a day. Ford is now Kentucky's largest auto manufacturer, with two plants in Louisville employing more than 8,500 workers.
Louisville is home to the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road in the South End, and the Kentucky Truck Plant off Westport Road in Eastern Jefferson County.
"We put out more than 1,300 vehicles a day," says the manager of the Louisville Assembly Plant, John Savona, "and yes a hundred years ago we started with 17 men building those Model T's, so we've come a long way."
Workers in Louisville build 650,000 vehicles a year at Ford's two plants including, the new Ford Escape, the F-Series Super Duty trucks, the Expedition, and the Lincoln Navigator.
Steve Stone started working at Ford in 1973. It is the only place he has ever worked. Today he is the United Auto Workers Chairman at LAP.
"Through the Ranger, the Explorer, and now the Escape, which is a great product, we are building more now than we ever have before," says Stone.
Like any long term relationship, Ford has had its ups and downs in Louisville. Louisville's former long-time mayor and now lieutenant governor, Jerry Abramson, says he's made a half dozen trips to Ford's headquarters in Michigan to make sure Ford would stay here.
"There always seems to be, will we have the next opportunity, will we keeping people working," says Abramson, "and this most recent one got us the most up to date Escape, the number one vehicle of its kind."
Just in the past several year has Ford recommitted its investment in Louisville.
"It is an outstanding workforce and I think Ford reaffirmed that with a $1.2 billion investment in Louisville," says Savona.
Ford has received millions of dollar in tax incentives to keep its two plants in Louisville.
But by remaining here Ford has created many other jobs, especially from Ford suppliers.
The company today was presented with resolutions from local and state elected officials who are congratulating Ford on its contribution to the economies of Louisville and Kentucky.