According to Ford Motor Co., a special Ford Taurus was at the NASCAR's NAPA 500 race Oct. 27. It took on the role of the pace car at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The car is the six millionth Taurus sold, built by employees at Ford Motor Company's Atlanta Assembly Plant (AAP) in Hapeville, GA. At a ceremony marking the sales milestone, Jim Padilla, group vice president, Ford North Amer-ica, drove the white pace car off the assembly line. NASCAR Ford Taurus Driver Dale Jarrett, riding in the front passenger's seat, accompanied him. Atlanta Assembly Plant Manager Patricia Reid and UAW Local 882 Building Chairman Mitch Smith also participated in the landmark event. In addition, Ford says the new pace car is being donated to the Georgia Juvenile Diabetes Foundation to raise money to find a cure for the disease. The foundation sponsored a raffle among Atlanta Ford employees in conjunction with this year's Atlanta Walk to Cure Diabetes, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2002. According to the company, J.D. Power and Associates awarded the Platinum Award for initial quality to AAP in 1997. The award is given to the vehicle assembly plant with the fewest reported problems of all facilities worldwide serving U.S. consumers. The Harbour Report also recognized AAP as the most efficient domestic auto plant in the nation in 1995 and, again, in 2000. In 2001, AAP ranked second most efficient in the nation and in 2002, it ranked third. Plant Manager Patricia Reid praised AAP workers for their commitment in making the Atlanta workforce one of the best. The first Taurus went on sale on Dec. 26, 1985 as a 1986 model. Ford has produced more than 6.4 million Taurus sedans and wagons at its Atlanta and Chicago assembly plants. The Atlanta plant alone had produced more than 143,000 units by the end of Sept. 2002.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials