Ford boosts production of two big SUVS at Kentucky plant

A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed

Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition Demand Prompts Production Boost

There is good news for workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant on the heels of increasing demand for the all-new Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition. Year to date they are down 14.7 percent while shares in No. 1 USA automaker GM, which is seen by analysts as having a clearer vision and better operational focus, are up 1.2 percent.

For a little more context, last month, Expedition sales were up 57 percent, and Navigator sales were up 97.5 percent.

The 2018 Expedition and Navigator's production targets have been boosted by 25 percent with the latest announcement. Because demand is so unprecedentedly high, workers won't get their pick like they normally would, a source told the automotive publication.

Ford is in the somewhat enviable position of having more demand than its inventory can match for both its all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

The $25 million in investments include 400 more robots, which perform ergonomically hard tasks on the assembly line; a new 3D printer, which allows Ford to print its own parts for tools; and enhanced data analytics to track hourly production targets. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that is meant to produce parts and tools cheaper and faster. The investment is expected to speed up the assembly line to the point Ford will ultimately produce 25 percent more SUVs this year than originally planned. In 2017, passenger auto sales in the United States fell to 36.8 percent of total light vehicle sales.

"The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional", Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations said in a statement. "They're only lasting about seven days on the lot", Kentucky Truck Plant manager, Andrew Tapp said.

The plant's biggest product is the Super Duty pickup truck (F-250 to F-550).

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