It’s a good year for the Ford Mustang: the iconic muscle car turns 50 at next year’s New York Auto Show, and now we hear that the Flat Rock, Michigan plant responsible for making the cars just made its one-millionth Mustang.
While the Mustang’s been in continuous production for some 49 years now, the plant that makes the pony car hasn’t always been the same. The Mustang’s home base was the famous River Rouge assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan for exactly 40 years, but the Mustang moved out in 2004 to make way for that other iconic Ford vehicle, the F-150. The truck plant is now called the Dearborn Truck assembly plant, although it still stands at Ford’s Rouge Center.
When the Mustang moved out of Rouge in 2004, it didn’t go far, ending up at what was then the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. The plant was initially a joint venture between Mazda and Ford: it opened in 1987 and made its two-millionth car, a Mazda 626, in the summer of 1999. Mazda recently sold its stake in the plant and moved out of American manufacturing altogether, so the 3 million square-foot facility now makes only the Mustang. Ford promises to add 1400 jobs and a second shift at Flat Rock later this year, when it’ll expand Fusion mid-size sedan production to that plant (the car is currently made at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico).
The plant now known as Flat Rock Assembly made its one-millionth Mustang, a ruby-red 2014 Mustang convertible, today. Ford group VP for product development Raj Nair and Flat Rock Assembly logistics manager Ed Salna climbed in to drive the car off the assembly line. It should be an interesting moment for Salna, who started at Flat Rock 27 years ago, months before AutoAlliance International even began to make cars. Overall Flat Rock has made one million of the roughly 8.5 million Mustangs made in the last 49 years.
By Ben Timmins