COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Cummins Mid-Range Engine Plant celebrated a significant milestone in ceremonies on Wednesday morning.
The plant announced the 3.5 millionth engine made at the plant and shipped to Ram, said Quality Director John Ferguson. To mark the occasion, Cummins invited Alan and Linda Newman of Franklin, Tenn. — who purchased the 2023 RAM 2500 that is powered by the milestone engine — to visit the plant on Wednesday, with workers gathered to hear from both the couple and plant leadership.
“Today is a win,” plant manager Nicole Wheeldon told employees. “What you do matters, how you do it matters even more, and the people that we do it for, most of all.”
According to Cummins officials, the company’s Rocky Mount Engine Plant began production of the B series engine for Dodge Ram in the 1980s.
“In 1992, with increased demand, production was moved to Columbus to a dedicated line to handle the growing production volume,” the company said in a release. “Since then, CMEP has remained the exclusive HD diesel engine supplier of the Ram truck.”
The plant previously celebrated its 3 millionth turbo diesel engine for the Ram truck in 2019.
Ferguson said that the plant typically celebrates the shipment of every half-millionth engine. This time, however, they decided to do something different — let the engine go out and then check in with the customers a few months after the sale.
Newman, a retired attorney, bought the truck at a dealership in Tennessee and is using it to tow vehicles used on his farm.
“I’d owned trucks for 40 years, but this is the first diesel that I’ve ever purchased,” he said. “And I bought it mainly because I needed it to tow heavy trailer-tractors that I own. So we bought it, and it’s handled the towing magnificently.”
He also likes the look of the truck so much that they drive it to church as well.
During Wednesday’s celebration, Ferguson told the Newmans the names of some of the employees who worked on their engine and their specific contributions. He also bestowed them with a signed engine vanity cover as a keepsake.
“I had someone tell me once … that we might build 600 or 700 engines a day, but our customers only buy one,” Ferguson said. “And Alan and Linda are a perfect example of that. We need to make sure we do everything we can to make sure every engine is a good one and provides durable performance.”
Wheeldon said that it feels “amazing” to reach this milestone, especially after some of the challenges the industry has faced in recent years.
When asked about how the plant might change as the world moves more towards electric vehicles, she replied, “We’ve actually put a lot of investment into this facility in the last three years to increase the use of technology, which will set us up to be really flexible for whatever comes next. So I don’t think we know exactly what that future looks like, but the team here has done a lot of work to make sure that we can roll with the punches and be prepared for any product that the company needs us to make going forward.”