Flat Rock Assembly Plant

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Flat Rock Assembly Plant
Auto Alliance International plant Flat Rock Michigan.JPG
AutoAlliance International plant, 2010.
Former namesMichigan Casting Center (1972–1981)
Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA (1987–1992)
AutoAlliance International (1992–2012)
General information
Address1 International Drive
Town or cityFlat Rock, Michigan
CountryUnited States
CoordinatesCoordinates: 42°6′24.6054″N 83°14′52.3752″W / 42.106834833°N 83.247882000°W / 42.106834833; -83.247882000
OpenedJanuary 1972
OwnerFord Motor Company

Flat Rock Assembly Plant, formerly known as Ford's Michigan Casting Center (MCC) (1972–81), Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA (1987–92) and AutoAlliance International (1992–2012), is a Ford Motor Company assembly plant located at 1 International Drive in Flat Rock, Michigan in Metro Detroit.

The plant currently comprises 2,900,000 square feet (270,000 m2) of production space and employs 3,510 hourly workers and 140 salaried workers — and currently manufactures the Ford Mustang.


1972 to 1991[edit]

Casting plant, 1973.

Following three years of work and the largest single investment by Ford, the Michigan Casting Center (MCC) opened in January 1972, at the time one of the most technologically advanced casting facilities in the world.[1] Despite the sizable capital investment, frequent union labor problems and work injuries[2] and declining demand for the V8 engine blocks produced there led the facility's closure in 1981.[3][4]

A worker, Robert Williams, was killed by an industrial robot arm on January 25, 1979. He is the first known human to be killed by a robot.[citation needed]

Mazda Motor Corporation started construction of a new building on the site of the Michigan Casting Center in 1985 and cars started production at Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA in September 1987 with the Mazda MX-6 and Ford Probe coupes.[5] In 1991 the plant had 3,600 employees, including 250 Japanese employees.[6]

1992 to 2011[edit]

Ford repurchased a 50% share in the plant on April 15, 1992, and it officially became a joint-venture and was renamed AutoAlliance International on July 1, 1992.[7] The plant began production of all models of the Mazda 626 sold in America starting in 1993. During this era, Deepak Ahuja was Chief Financial Officer of the joint venture.[8] The Ford Contour-derived Mercury Cougar was produced at the plant from 1998 to 2002. Production of North American Mazda 6 began in the 2003 model year, followed by the Ford Mustang starting in 2005.

From 2012[edit]

The last Mazda 6 rolled off the line on Friday, August 24, 2012, with Mazda discontinuing production on American soil, effectively ending the 20 year joint-venture between Mazda and Ford. Mazda moved production of the Mazda 6 back to the Hofu factory in Japan and opened a new factory in Salamanca, Mexico to build the Mazda 2 and Mazda 3 subcompact and compact cars.

On September 10, 2012, Ford Motor Company re-took full management control of the plant, renaming it the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant, and confirming $555 million in investments designed to retool the plant for the production of the 2013 Ford Fusion midsize sedan.[9]

On July 15, 2015, Ford confirmed that the new 2017 Lincoln Continental sedan would be produced at the Flat Rock plant starting in 2016.[10]

On January 3, 2017, Ford announced that it will begin manufacturing an electric small SUV by 2020, and a high passenger volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing by 2021, both to be built at Flat Rock.[11]

Ford reduced production of the plant from two shifts to one due to lower demand for the Ford Mustang and especially the Lincoln Continental.[12] Over 1,000 workers were laid off in April 2019, including almost 500 temporary workers.[13][14]

In March 2019, Ford announced change of its plan, production of battery-electric vehicle would not start until 2023.[15]




Ford Probe V6 24V GT built at Flat Rock in 1995, customized in France in 2016.


  1. ^ "Ford Opens a Giant Casting Centre". Schenectady Gazette. 20 January 1972. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Detroit plant". Windsor Star. 1 November 1973. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Ford Will Close Unit in Flat Rock". New York Times. 15 September 1981. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Flat Rock Mayor Hopeful". The Argus-Press. 3 December 1984. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  5. ^ Manji, James F. (1 June 1988). "Building cars with Mazda quality. (Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA Corp.)". Automation. Penton Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  6. ^ Cohen, Sharon. "Metamorphosis in Motown." Associated Press at The Ledger. Thursday December 26, 1991. p. 7C. Retrieved from Google News (95 of 121) on November 19, 2013.
  7. ^ "North American All-New Mazda6 Production Begins at AutoAlliance International". Mazda. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  8. ^ Star, Leanne (11 November 2011). "Alumni profile: Deepak Ahuja" (PDF). McCormick Magazine. No. Fall 2011. p. 42. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Lincoln Continental to be made at Ford Flat Rock plant". 15 July 2015.
  11. ^ https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2017/01/03/ford-adding-electrified-f-150-mustang-transit-by-2020.html
  12. ^ Willems, Steph (28 November 2018). "Ford Cuts Factory Shifts, Comes Out Looking Like the Golden Child". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  13. ^ Howard, Phoebe Wall (5 Feb 2019). "Flat Rock shift cut leaves more than 400 Ford workers in jeopardy". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  14. ^ Laing, Keith (4 Feb 2019). "Ford: Flat Rock workers to be offered job transfers". Detroit News. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  15. ^ Thibodeau, Ian. "Ford Flat Rock plant shifts to electric vehicles, Mustang". Detroit News. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  16. ^ Henkel, Karl (9 April 2013). "Ford begins hiring 1,400 for Flat Rock plant". Detroit News. Retrieved 11 April 2013.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "New Lincoln Continental will be Michigan made". USA Today. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  18. ^ Pope, Byron (10 September 2012). "Ford Expects Fusion Output to Exceed Mazda6 at Flat Rock". Wards Auto. Archived from the original on 2013-09-02. Retrieved 11 April 2013.

Further reading[edit]