Mark Fields revealed last week during his update speech detailing Ford’s progress with its “Way Forward Plan” that two Blue Oval plants will be idled in 2008. The two plants affected include the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, MN and the Norfolk Assembly Plant in Virginia.

One word can sum up why these plants were chosen to be idled: inflexibility. Both were built in 1925 around the time dirt was invented. Though the Norfolk plant assembles the F-150, the best selling vehicle in history that’s on pace to sell a record 900,000 units for the third year in a row, Ford realized that flexible manufacturing at fewer plant sites could maintain its full-size truck production. The Twin Cities plant, however, was betrayed by its own product – the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series small pickups. Ranger sales are down 15.9 in the first quarter and the aged trucks haven't received a major redesign since 1992 (MY1993).

The idling (read: closing) will affect 4,318 hourly and salaried workers. Ford did say that it would reveal its plans surrounding a Ranger replacement closer to the time the Twin Cities plant goes dark in 2008.

Follow the jump for some additional stats and a history of production for each plant.

[Source: Ford]
[Photo: AP Photo/Janet Hostetter]

Plant Name: Norfolk Assembly Plant
City: Norfolk
State: VA - Virginia
Country: USA

EMPLOYMENT

Current Total Employment: 2,433
Hourly: 2,275
Salaried: 158

PRODUCTION HISTORY

Current Products: Ford F-150
Year Opened: 1925

Site Size in Acres: 102

Plant Size in Square Feet: 2,625,152

Product History: Model-T, full-size sedans, station wagons, F-150, F-250, F-350



Plant Name: Twin Cities Assembly Plant
City: St. Paul
State: MN - Minnesota
Country: USA

EMPLOYMENT

Current Total Employment: 1,885
Hourly: 1,750
Salaried: 135

PRODUCTION HISTORY

Current Products: Ford Ranger, Mazda B-Series

Year Opened: 1925

Site Size in Acres: 148

Plant Size in Square Feet: 2,144,932

Product History: F-Series Trucks, LTD, Galaxie, Country Squire Wagon, Country Sedan Station Wagon, Starliner, Del Rio, Fairlane 500, Sunliner, Crown Victoria, Crestliner, School Bus Chassis, Custom, Sportsman, Duluxe and Super Deluxe, Phaeton, Model A cars and AA Trucks, Model T cars and TT Trucks.