Ford Rouge Factory, home of the new F-150.
At the 2014 North American International Auto Show, Ford’s big news was the new lightweight aluminum Ford F-150 pick up truck. Built in Detroit, the pick up trucks required a retooling of the Ford Rouge factory.
But this is good news for car and factory tour enthusiasts. The Ford Rouge factory offers tours of its plant, with two short films and a walk through of the assembly area. When I was back in Detroit for the 2015 auto show, I was treated to a tour of the plant.
Visitors are bussed from the Henry Ford complex, which includes an IMAX theater and a couple of museums.
The factory is named for the Rouge River, which runs by the plant. The giant complex once had its own railroad, and produced a car every 49 seconds.
The films, in two different theaters, offer a peek into the history of both the Ford Motor Co and the new F-150 being assembled at the plant. The multimedia truck film is flashy, with strobe lights and loud music; it is designed to pump you up for the experience of walking through the factory.
The factory includes a Gold LEED Visitor Center, with one of the world’s largest living roofs. I had to take that on faith; when I was there, the roof was covered with snow so it was technically a white roof.
Other sustainability efforts include natural treatment of storm water and recapturing paint fumes to create fuel cells.
All together now
Since this is a final assembly plant, you see what looks like trucks being put together. Visitors are on a walkway above the factory floor and forbidden from taking pictures, but as a Ford guest, I was allowed to snap away.
Employees at the plant who drive Fords get to park closer to the entrance.
The Rouge has a gallery of eye candy, vintage cars for those who want to see the old and the new.
The factory is very clean and you can wear heels, but you will walk about half a mile around the walkway.
Admission to the factory is $16; $12 for kids ages 5-12. Reservations are recommended.
Disclosure: I was Ford’s guest at the North American International Auto Show. Ford paid my travel expenses; opinions expressed are my own.