Ford Day

Jun 3, 2005

Ford Day brings hot cars and inspiring talk to Kettering University.

Flash back to the late 1960s and the movie "Bullet," which starred Steve McQueen and one of the fastest cars on the market: the Ford Mustang GT. For those who recall the movie, what stands out in their memory is the chase scene through the streets of San Francisco and the lighting fast speed at which McQueen's Mustang roared through town.

More than 40 years later, a vintage edition of the Mustang GT roared on to the Kettering campus. With it came Phil Martens, group vice president of Product Creation for Ford Motor Co. and a member of the Kettering University Board of Trustees, and other new vehicles, like the Mustang GTR, EX Concept 1, Ford Freestyle, Ford Five Hundred, F250 Harley, Mustang Convertible and the Mustang Coupe.

The event was Ford Day at Kettering June 2. Sponsored by the Kettering University Student Government (KSG), Ford Day provided attendees an opportunity to hear about the company's vision for the automotive industry and see first hand some of the most inspiring cars on the market today. Events for Ford Day included a lecture by Martens in McKinnon Theater titled "Go Lean, Go Common, Go Fast, Go Kettering." This talk addressed a number of subjects, including Ford's Global Product Development System (GPDS), a manufacturing-based system that has reduced the number of years it takes to bring a car to market from five to three. This system is based on one employed by Mazda, which, Martens explained, "created the benchmark development system in the industry today." He also discussed several new architectural platforms Ford now uses, which establish a common footprint for all Ford facilities and helps speed the time it takes to bring products to market. Other events included a picnic lunch in the Kettering Bell Tower court yard and a dessert receptionwith student leaders.

Ford Day represented an opportunity for the Kettering community to connect with an important corporate partner and one of the world's global leaders in the automotive industry. Marten's talk, for example, exposed students to an industry executive with a wealth of experience. "The automotive field is technologically challenging today," he said. He also explained that Kettering students fit into Ford because the industry is becoming more digitally based in terms of engineering. Kettering students, he explained, tend to be "digitally inclined," and this is precisely the kind of graduate the field requires to handle changes now and in the future.

In addition to the presentation and picnic, Ford brought several vehicles to campus for display. But perhaps the most observed car was the Ford Mustang GT. Since its introduction in 1964, the Mustang has come to symbolize one of the top American muscle cars and the 2005 model is an exceptional compliment to the line. The car boasts a 281 cubic inch V-8 engine capable of producing 300 horsepower at 5,750 RPM. It can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.2 seconds, according to "Car and Driver" magazine. And one of the most interesting aspects is that the car gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway, which is practically unheard of in muscle cars, yet an achievement in research and design for V-8 engines by Ford.

Near the end of his talk, Martens told the large group of students that "Ford wants to be a digital high tech company in the future. As a fresh graduate, you are the most qualified todo the jobs we're talking about."

Written by Gary J. Erwin
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