Ford boosts production, invests $25M in Kentucky plant

Ford boosts production, invests $25M in Kentucky plant

FoMoCo is ramping up production at its Kentucky Truck Plant to keep up with increased demand for its all-new Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

In particular the automaker is finding exceptional demand for its most expensive version of the two vehicles. Last month, the carmaker said USA sales of the Navigator to individual buyers were well over double from January 2017, while Expedition sales were up 57 per cent. The increase in production means a boost of 25 percent since last fall when both vehicles hit the market.

GM is outperforming Ford financially in part because it dominates the US large SUV segment with models such as the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban.

According to Ford, dealerships can't keep the 2018 Expedition and Navigator in stock right now.

The highly profitable SUVs are turning on dealer lots nearly as fast as they can be unloaded from delivery trucks.

A large robot nicknamed "Kong" lifts the body of a Ford Expedition SUV at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant as the No. 2 U.S. automaker ramps up production of two large SUV models in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., February 9, 2018. "We aim to get out there and challenge them with vehicles with better fuel efficiency and driving dynamics".

The company is spending $25 million here - in addition to $900 million in previously announced investments - on robots, data analytics systems and other technology to produce 25 percent more big SUVs than the company had originally planned.

Stable, relatively low oil prices have since encouraged Americans to shun passenger cars in favor of higher-margin SUVs and pickup trucks. Hinrichs and Kentucky Truck Plant Manager Andrew Tapp want more.

Anticipated to be hot-sellers before they hit the assembly line, late a year ago the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and its luxurious twin, the also-all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator proved to be hotter than forecasted.

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