Ford, Making Detroit a Home

Joe Ferry spray paints a Ford picture before Ford’s celebration at the station.

Photo Credit: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

Joe Ferry spray paints a Ford picture before Ford’s celebration at the station.

Detroit, also known as the motor city, is the comeback city of America. The comeback is alive and companies are helping out in the effort. The company that stands out the most is Ford motor company.

Ever since the race riots of 1943, the city has never been the same. The riots started because of racial tensions and false reports of different ethnic groups fighting. This conflict lasted for approximately two days, June 20 and June 21, and resulted in an immense loss of population. A population census in 1950 listed 1.8 million people in the city of Detroit and another other census in 2010 listed the population at just over 700,000. This significant gap results in a loss of sixty one percent of the city population.

Ever since the riots, Detroit has been on a comeback streak. For instance, Detroit houses two of the three biggest automobile companies in the United States who coined the name, “the big three.” Of these three companies, the one that stands out the most is Ford motor company.

Ford motor company has been going strong since 1903 by providing jobs to citizens in need of work. The automobile giant has made many efforts to become a more “green” company in recent years. One example of this is the Ford rouge factory. The manufacturing plant has a “living roof” that is covered in sedum. The roof provides nesting space for birds and creates more oxygen to help keep the air cleaner around the plant. The roof is estimated to live twice as long due to the sedum on the roof. The Rouge plant has also improved the water quality around the plant due to the measures made by the company.

The rouge plant in Dearborn was opened in 1928. At the time, the rouge plant was two separate buildings, building A and B. Building A was a production facility for the parts of the Model-T. Building B was created for the second world war. The building made “Ford eagle boats”. These boats were patrol crafts for anti-submarine operations, however, the war ended before the boats were put into action. Due to the rouge canal being widened significantly, Ford had the opportunity for ore boats to come up the canal.

More recently, the automobile giant has expanded its reach into Detroit. More specifically, Ford has reached into the area of Corktown. Ford purchased the Detroit train station as of June 2018 and has great ideas for the future of the building.

Ford’s executive chairman, William Clay Ford Jr., has spoken on why the company bought the train station.

“This building has always been photographed as a symbol of what had become of Detroit, it was the symbol of the ruin of our city,” said Ford.

Photo Credit: Steve Wilke, Hour Detroit
The annual Ford fireworks in Detroit.

Ford Jr.’s vision for the building is an amazing one in which it enriches the company and the community. The first floor of the building is envisioned to be a retail space full of stores, coffee shops and restaurants open to the public. Once the finished building will provide office space for five thousand people, but most of this will be majorly the Ford workforce.

“I think that this is a great idea. I know that Ford is a good company and I think that moving into Detroit is beneficial for ford and the city,” claimed sophomore soccer player Rachel Jaumotte.

Michigan Central Station plans to become a hub for autonomous vehicles. This will open up the opportunity to test the systems between all the Ford locations. However, the vast concentration of Ford jobs will still be in Dearborn.

“We’ve been in Dearborn for 119 years, and that won’t change,” said Ford.

Another recent announcement was the partnership between Ford and Volkswagen. The two companies are, and have been, talking for the better part of a year and have started a partnership. Ford has been struggling in recent years to sell automobiles in the European market. Therefore, the partnership between Ford and Volkswagen could create lots of new business in Europe for Ford in the future.

The partnership will be “Maintaining independence and identity for both partners,” said the Volkswagen CEO.

Photo Credit: Automotive News
Ford’s chief executive officer Jim Hackett and Volkswagen’s Herbert Diess at the north american international auto show in Detroit.

Ford also has a history of helping veterans in employment opportunities. For example, since 1919, Ford motor company has been hiring disabled veterans from WWI. Ford continues to prioritize helping veterans in employment to this day. According to the Ford corporate website, the company has approximately six thousand veteran employees.

“I ask the students about what they want to do after school and they always tell me they want to get out,” said Mayor Mike Duggan in a press conference.

This resonated with many of the residents of Detroit. Though this may still be true, Detroit is on a great comeback. More jobs are becoming available and the unemployment rate is at an all-time low at five percent. Ford is evidently contributing in making Detroit more inviting and more of a home for everyone.