Ford Motor Co. is planning to build both its current and new F-150s for around six months to avoid disrupting sales of the pickup as well as provide a safeguard against possible problems related to its extensive overhaul, people privy with the matter told Reuters. Ford intends to commence production of the new pickup around July 2014, according to sources.
The carmaker will continue to build the outgoing model in the first six months of the launch of the new F-150. Ford took more time to get ready it plants to produce newer pickup models in 2003 and 2008, Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson told Reuters.
The US carmaker managed to modify its plants at a more "leisurely" place in 2008, when demand for larger and gas-thirsty models dropped due to high fuel prices. Ford is planning for the production of the new F-150 as demand for trucks in the US continues to grow, thanks to boosts in the housing and oil industries.
At the time the demand for full-sized pickups in the US is growing three times faster than the auto industry, Ford simply cannot afford to disrupt production of the best-selling truck in the country. IHS Automotive analyst Mike Jackson told Reuters that to ramp up, a carmaker has to retool, which means taking capacity offline. He said that to retool at a time when demand is so strong is “a bit challenging."
The F-series trucks and sports utility vehicle derivatives like the Expedition account for over 90 percent of Ford's global profit, according to Morgan Stanley. Ford currently produces the F-150 in Kansas City, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich. Ford partially shut down its Dearborn site in the last week of June to allow for some "facility work" for the new F-150.