Ford boosts production, invests $25M in Kentucky plant

Ford boosts production, invests $25M in Kentucky plant

The Detroit based automaker is increasing the production of both SUVs by 25%, with both models being manufactured at Ford's Louisville, Kentucky truck plant.

On Monday, Ford announced a new $25 million investment at the Kentucky Truck Plant to support the increase of manufacturing line speed.

With what could be considered to be the best kind of problem to have, Ford will tack this investment onto a previously announced investment into the Kentucky plant, which now churns out F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks, bringing the grand total to $900 million in new investment.

Ford is playing catchup to GM in the large SUV market in part because of past decisions to focus investment on smaller vehicles at a time when high oil prices and stiffening federal fuel economy rules threatened big trucks like the Navigator. "The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for".

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"The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional", Global Operations present Joe Hinrichs said in a press release.

That change required "the greatest technological transformation" at the Louisville plant - one of two Ford has in the city - since the 1980s, said electrician Chuck Billingsley, a 33-year veteran worker at the automaker.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, according to Automotive News, has banned employees from ordering the new Navs and Expeditions for personal use. Restrictions on mainstream vehicles are rare, if not unprecedented, the source said.

Navigator sales are up triple digits in every region of the country, including a 135 percent gain in Ford's western sales region, which includes California, Merkle said. Average transaction prices for the Expedition were up $7,800 in January, while the new Navigator managed a massive increase of $21,300. As impressive as both these SUVs are, it should be no surprise that demand has been high.

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