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Congressman Higgins Joins Ford to Raise A New Banner, Highlight Local Workat Woodlawn Stamping Plant

Jun 29, 2009
Press Release

In a dual presentation demonstrating Ford Motor Co.’s importance and commitment to Western New York’s economy, the Stamping Plant here today unfurled a new banner on its building, highlighting the plant’s role in making the Edge and Flex, and the region’s Ford Dealers continued a 13-year tradition of donating vans to charity.

Congressman Brian Higgins, Erie County Executive Chris Collins, United Autoworkers Local 897 President Charles Gangarossa and John Schuldt, Ford Division Pittsburgh Regional Sales Manager, joined representatives of the Western New York Ford Dealers at a news conference to discuss the company’s economic impact on this region.

All speakers reinforced that despite a down economy, Ford is doing better regionally and nationally than most automakers. In addition, while corporations in general are cutting back on charitable giving, due to the difficult economic times, Western New York’s Ford Friendship Express delivered Econoline vans to charities for the 13th year in a row.

“These are rough times for everyone, but Ford remains strong here in the Buffalo area. With the guidance, partnership and hard work of Ford Motor Co., nationally and regionally, the Stamping Plant team, the UAW and the Western New York Ford Dealers, we will continue to see Ford’s success,” said Frank Downing, vice-chairman of the Western New York Ford Dealers.

An 80-by-40-foot framed banner, donated to the plant by the dealers, was raised June 23 and affixed to the western side of Ford’s Buffalo Stamping Plant in Woodlawn.
The banner says: “Born Here. Driven Everywhere. The Ford Edge.”

It replaces the original banner installed in the same location in July 2007 when the Stamping Plant started producing the Edge and Lincoln MKX frames.

“We’re honored to have great support from the region’s Ford Dealers for what we do here at the Stamping Plant,” said Plant Manager David Buzo. “The first Edge banner hung with pride for two years and we look forward to this new one further demonstrating our success and pride in the Edge.”

Ford’s Long Tradition in WNY
Ford has had a long history in the Western New York. Some of the company’s original assembly operations were located in Buffalo, until 1957.  Buffalo Stamping Plant opened in 1950 on an 88-acre site with 1.2 million square feet of working space. Six major expansions later, it now stands at 2.5 million square feet, or 53.3 acres of floor space.

“The Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn plays an essential role in this region as an employer to hundreds of hard-working Western New York autoworkers and as a generous community partner,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Just last week, the U.S Energy Department named Ford as one of the first companies approved for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program. This will support Ford’s continued work developing fuel-efficient technology, strengthening its position as a leader in a competitive world marketplace and providing the best opportunity for Ford’s long and vibrant future here in Western New York.”

The plant manufactures metal stampings and welded sub-assemblies for Ford's car and truck plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America. Products go to four major assembly plants, with 47 percent going to the Oakville Assembly Complex near Toronto, where the Edge/MKX, Flex and MKT are produced at a rate of 1,100 vehicles per day.

St. Thomas Assembly, London, Ont., represents 35 percent of the customer base and produces the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis lines at a rate of 450 vehicles per day. Kentucky Truck builds 900 Superduty (F-250) per day and is 15 percent of the shipping business. Ranger truck parts account for the other 3 percent.

Ford Stamping processes more than 15,000 tons of steel each month and ships an average of 40 railcars to the plants daily. Average shipments to Oakville include 25 railcars and 18 trucks per day. The plant produces 84 end items, including 16 body parts for the new MKT. The plant provides 80 percent of the sheet metal for Oakville's body shop.

The plant’s product list includes doors, quarter panels, bodyside outers, bodyside inners, hoods, fenders and floor pans.  

The plant employs approximately 700 hourly and 98 salaried employees operating on three shifts with an annual payroll of more than $100 million.  Ford and the United Autoworkers at the plant support 20 different local organizations with volunteer activities and donations totaling over $250,000 annually.

"Erie County has a long and proud automotive history," said Erie County Executive Chris Collins. "Ford – through both the Stamping Plant and local Ford dealers – has been an integral part of that history. I am confident Ford will continue to have a strong presence in Western New York and enrich our community through the charitable giving of its local dealers."

The plant has won numerous national certifications and Ford honors, including the 2003 North America President’s Quality Award as the best Ford Stamping Plant.
Actual production of the Edge started in October 2006 at the Stamping Plant.

Friendship Express Donates Two Vans
Local Ford Edge marketing has included localized outdoor billboards, online banner advertising, print advertisements and publicity. The new banner at the Stamping Plant continues this effort.

The dealers are particularly pleased that even in down times for the auto industry nationally, and for many local companies, they are still be able to contribute two vans this year in support of worthy causes in the region.

“On behalf of the Ford Dealers in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, I want to say how pleased we are to provide these vans to Computers for Children in Buffalo and the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club,” said Scott Bieler, chairman, Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee. “I know, like the organizations that received these vans in the last 13 years, that these will get extensive use that will help these worthy non-profit organizations meet their service goals.”

About Ford Dealers of WNY and Ford Friendship Express:
The dealers are part of the Western New York Ford Stores, an advertising cooperative comprised of 33 dealer locations, that provides support for Ford vehicle sales and service in the 13 counties of Western New York and two counties in Northern Pennsylvania.

Since its inception in 1996, the Ford Friendship Express program has donated vans valued at more than $1 million to 53 organizations. Past recipients include Kids Escaping Drugs, SABAH, Meals on Wheels of Buffalo and Erie County, Friends of the Night People, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, Camp Good Days & Special Times, Student Union at SUNY at Buffalo, Goodwill Industries of Western New York, Rural Transit Service, the American Red Cross, The Buffalo Zoo and more.  

More About Computers for Children:
CFC of Buffalo is dedicated to enhancing the learning opportunities for school children by increasing their access to current computers and information technology.  CFC helps train middle school students, high school students and college interns to refurbish and rebuild computers that are then donated to needy schools.  Along with training programs, CFC has other ways for the community to obtain computers.  Individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations can purchase computers at our Outlet Store.

More About Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club:
This is a non-profit, informal educational organization. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for youth to develop and achieve their maximum potential as human beings. These opportunities are provided through service methods of individual, small group and mass programs. These services are designed to provide the membership with health, social, educational, cultural, vocational, character and leadership development. The Boys & Girls Club strives to provide relevant, sustained and diversified programs to enable youth to help themselves realize their potential for growth and development in the skills needed for living.