Ford on Track to Sell 700,000 F-150s


As if we couldn't see this coming: Ford wants to make and sell more pickup trucks than anyone else in North America, and it seems headed in the right direction. Let's review: The entire Dearborn, Mich., plant was gutted from mid- to late-2014 with Missouri's Kansas City Plant set to finish its changes near the end of March.

When both F-150 plants are running at full production, they will have the combined capacity to make as many 700,000 half-ton pickups in a 12-month period (note: this number includes F-150 production that goes to Canada and shipped globally to 90 other markets).

For reference, according to our sources, Ford sold more than  in the U.S. and a total of 753,000 F-Series (F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550)  (again, just in the U.S.), so this positions Ford to potentially to produce well over a million pickup trucks in North America when all three truck plants (Dearborn, Kansas City and Kentucky) are running at full steam. 

The last production plant in this take-over-the-world plan from Ford will be the improvements necessary to the next-generation Super Duty, which is reportedly going through an extensive aluminum body redesign as well. We assume the Kentucky Truck Plant will have to undergo some of the same changes the Dearborn and Kansas City plants had to endure.

As an example, in preparation for the all-new 2015 Ford F-150, more than 8,000 workers at both the Dearborn Truck Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant had to complete more than 400 hours of in-class and hands-on training. Many of the training classes were related to new production and assembly processes necessary for the all-aluminum pickup, but many other changes were needed to accommodate other all-new or significantly upgraded designs.

Some of the most important and complex manufacturing equipment changes in the Dearborn and Kansas City F-150 plants included:

  • New press lines able to stamp four different types of aluminum alloys for cabs and boxes
  • New hydroforming lines to produce the squirt tubes to provide structural support
  • New chemical and heat-treating areas to harden and help all materials better resist corrosion
  • Implementation of a closed-loop recycling process for collecting, sorting and reusing aluminum scrap
  • Investing in 500 new robots in the all-new body shop to join panels with adhesives, screws, rivets and welds
  • An all-new paint shop with increased automation for dirt detection and better paint spray

Once the two F-150 plants are fully functional, and barring any U.S. or global economic upheaval, we expect Ford's monthly sales numbers to steadily climb in the second half of the year, getting close to the magic 1 million sales target. photos by Evan Sears; manufacturer images




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