Saturday 23rd June 1945
The Ford Motor Company ended operations at its Willow Run factory. The Willow Run manufacturing complex, located between Ypsilanti and Belleville, Michigan, US was constructed in the early years of World War II by Ford Motor Company for the mass production of war munitions, especially the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. Ford who built the factory, sold it to the government, then leased it back for the duration of the war. When Ford declined to purchase the facility after the war, Kaiser-Frazer Corporation gained ownership, and in 1953 Ford’s rival General Motors took ownership and operated the factory as Willow Run Transmission until 2010. Willow Run Assembly operated from 1959 to 1992 on a parcel to the south of the airport. The Fisher Body division also operated at Willow Run Assembly until its operations were assumed by the GM Assembly Division in the 1970s. In 2009 General Motors announced that it would shut down all operations at the GM Powertrain plant and engineering center in the coming year. Since the 2010 closure of Willow Run Transmission, the factory complex has been managed by the RACER Trust, which controls the properties of the former General Motors. Demolition of the majority of the Willow Run facility began in December 2013, with much of the plant already gone, with the exception of the portion that the Yankee Air Museum hopes to purchase.