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The Rouge: A Timeline

1903 Ford Motor Company founded
1906 Ford Motor Company becomes America’s largest car manufacturer producing 8729 cars
1908 Ford introduces the Model T
1908 William C. Durant forms General Motors
1910 Ford opens the Highland Park Plant
1913 Ford engineers introduce a moving assembly line for auto production
1915 Ford introduces the $5 day wage for hourly workers
1915 Henry Ford purchases 2,000 acres of marshland along the Rouge River in Dearborn
1917 Construction of Rouge Plant begins
1918 First products of the Rouge are Eagle Boats for the US Navy
1921 Fordson tractor production begins at Rouge Plant
1924 First public tours of the Rouge Plant
1925 Walter P. Chrysler reorganizes Maxwell Motor Corp. into Chrysler Corp.
1926 Ford adopts 40 hour work week
1927 Model T production ends after more than 15 million are produced
1927 Ford loses first place in sales to Chevrolet
1927 Model A production begins at Rouge
1928 Tractor production discontinued at the Rouge
1928 Ford regains first place in sales
1929 Total Rouge employment climbs to 103,000
1932 First V-8 Ford car produced at Rouge
1937 Union organizers stage massive “sit-in” strikes at General Motors’ plants in Flint
1937 Ford Service men attack union organizers in what becomes known at The Battle of the Overpass
1941 Ford signs contract with United Auto Workers, the last major auto company to do so
1942 World War II halts civilian car production
1943-45 War production at the Rouge contributes to Detroit’s reputation as “The Arsenal of Democracy”
1945 Ford civilian truck and auto production resumes
1946 75,000 employed at the Rouge
1949 Ford introduces the first all new cars built at the Rouge since World War II
1953 60,000 employed at the Rouge
1953 The first Ford Thunderbird rolls off the line at the Rouge
1965 Ford Mustang begins production at the Rouge
1965 New yearly record for Rouge Plant Tours set with 239,669 visitors
1971 All time yearly record for Rouge Plant tours set with 243,175 visitors
1980 Rouge Plant tours end
1997 UAW and Ford Motor Company sign Rouge Viability Agreement to revitalize the Rouge
1999 Six workers are killed in an explosion at the Rouge Power House
2004 New F150 truck production begins at the Rouge in a newly constructed, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility
2004 Ford Rouge Factory Tours resume