Ford Motor Co. has commenced building the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup, vowing to fully stock its dealers with the vehicle in the second quarter of 2015, according to chief executive Mark Fields. Ford will start shipping the first stock F-150s to dealerships in next month and the retail orders in February.
The carmaker had to spend 10 weeks to install new equipment in its Dearborn truck plant in Michigan to prepare for the production of the new F-150, which requires different assembly techniques from its predecessor, including riveting, adhesive bonding and laser welds.
Once Ford’s Dearborn site reaches full production speed, Ford start revamping its Claycomo assembly plant in Missouri in January to enable it to build aluminum bodied F-150. The launch of F-150 production at the Dearborn site was presided by Fields and Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
During the launch, Bill Ford quoted his great-grandfather and the carmaker’s founder Henry Ford, “The only history worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.”
He recalled that the site almost came into closure in the 1990s, but thanks to an agreement between the carmaker and the United Auto Workers union, they were able to rescue the plant and rebuild it as a modern, sustainable facility.
Fields remarked that Ford is open to producing aluminum vehicles, with next-generation Super Duty pickup tagged as the next in line to the F-150. While the auto industry has been observing Ford as it makes the shift to aluminum, customers are also on the watch.
According to Fields, over 250,000 customers, through the Internet, built and priced versions of the F-150 from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25, 2014. He added that over 225,000 customers have submitted contact information for updates on the model.