Introduced in 1973, the Greenville 7100 Auto Parts Boxcar was built for auto parts service. Railroads contributed freight cars as a part of equipment pools, and these pools served the automobile manufacturing and supply facilities of automobile makers. The equipment pools were constituted in such a way that, once in a pool, one paint scheme was as likely to be seen as another, and some cars were hardly ever seen on home rails. For the majority of its service life, the Greenville 7100 Auto Parts Boxcars were assigned to the Ford Motor Plant in Lima, Ohio—as designated by the pool number 322. The Greenville 7100 Auto Part Boxcars were then distributed across service routes to facilities across the country that used components associated with these facilities.
Auto parts traffic was hot for the railroad. Not all automobile-manufacturing facilities inventoried parts. They were received from the railroads in “just in time” fashion, and timely schedules was necessary to keep assembly line fluid. As a result, a delay from the railroad could mean that the entire assembly line would halt for lack of parts. The jobs of switching these facilities were only extended to Sr. engineers of good record. As one engineer reported, cars would move in and out of the facilities in such a way as to sync with the demands of the assembly line. Switching the facility was an intricate dance with little tolerance for error.