Ford Motor Co. has started an overhaul of its Dearborn truck site near Detroit, Michigan to prepare for production of the F-150 pickup’s aluminum-bodied version in the United States. The site will be closed for eight weeks for the overhaul. Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, remarked that converting the high-volume and best-selling F-150 into aluminum is both historic and unprecedented.
The site’s workers assembled the last 2014 F-150 on August 22, and crews thereafter started tearing it up to pave way for the new equipment needed to create parts out of aluminum, Hinrichs disclosed. Around 1,100 trucks were expected to make their way into the plant to deliver the new tools.
The site will commence building the pre-production prototypes of the 2015 F-150 by mid-October. Hinrichs dubbed the project as a massive undertaking and one of the bigger logistical challenges that Ford has ever seen. The 2015 F-150 is considered as the most critical new-model introduction for Ford in a year wherein it is rolling out 23 new products globally, 16 of which will be in North America.
Ford’s sales in the US are so far 0.4 percent off and the carmaker expects its profit for the full year to drop as it retools plants and invests to launch new models. Ford also saw its first-half net income drop from $2.84 billion in 2013 to $2.3 billion this year.
Ford will still build the MY2014 F-150 at a facility near Kansas City, Missouri, which will be closed in 2014 to prepare it for production of the MY2015 model, Hinrichs divulged. Ford has announced that it is closing two F-series plants in the US for a combined 13 weeks this year to get ready for the new model.