Two of Ford's vehicles are moving well enough that the automaker is adding production to its plants in Missouri and Michigan. Ford says its F-150 and Ford Escape are looking to earn their highest sales of the year in August, with the F-Series truck line looking good for its first year-on-year sales jump since October 2006 and the Escape knocking on the door of its own sales record. Of course, August sales number are expected to be wildly inflated by the success of the government's Cash for Clunkers program, so Ford is also taking into account the sales rates of these two vehicles before August and only boosting production by a smidge in response.
Thus, 2,800 workers at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant will go back to full-time work at the end of September, which will raise production of F-150s by 10,000 units through the end of the year. A third shift added to the Kansas City plant in October will raise production of Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners by 2,400 through year-end. If production details are your cup of tea, you can read all of Ford's good news in the press release after the jump.
[Source: Ford | Image: Scott Olson/Getty]
FORD ADDS SHIFTS AT PLANTS IN KANSAS CITY, MICHIGAN TO MEET DEMAND FOR FUEL-EFFICIENT ESCAPE, F-150
* Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., will resume as a three-crew operation in September, to meet demand for F-150 pickups in the U.S. and Canada. The move will result in full-time employment for 2,800 employees who had been working on a two-weeks-on and one-week-off rotating basis since April
* Ford is moving to a three-crew operation from a two-shift operating pattern at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo., in October to maximize the plant's efficiency and help to better meet demand for fuel-efficient Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner utilities
* In August, Ford is on track to post its highest monthly F-Series and Escape sales of 2009 following strong sales for both vehicles in July
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 27, 2009 – Ford Motor Company today announced it is adding third production shifts at its Dearborn Truck Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant's sport utility line to help meet strong demand for Ford F-150 pickups and Escape utility vehicles.
In August, Ford expects to post its first monthly year-over-year sales increase for F-Series trucks since October 2006, as well as another record-setting sales month for Escape.
"Even with 'Cash for Clunkers' behind us, we expect that demand for our fuel-efficient, high quality new vehicles will remain strong," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service. "We had a solid July sales month, and we are headed toward an even stronger August. We're being as creative as we can in pushing the system to meet the demand for our products."
To meet demand, the operating pattern changes announced at Dearborn Truck Plant will result in the additional production of approximately 10,000 F-150 pickups this year and full-time employment for 2,800 employees who had been working on a two-weeks-on, one-week-off rotating basis since April. The changes at Dearborn Truck will go into effect in late September.
The addition of a third crew on the SUV line at Kansas City Assembly, when combined with previously announced incremental overtime at the plant that began earlier this month, will deliver approximately 2,400 additional Escapes and Mariners by the end of October. Employment levels at Kansas City Assembly will remain unchanged, as the plant also moves from two shifts to one shift of production on its pickup truck line. The changes there are effective beginning in mid-October.
The production increases of both vehicles were included in the company's previously announced production plan for the third and fourth quarter of this year.
"We continue to work together with the UAW to find solutions in our manufacturing facilities that will make them more efficient and our business more competitive," said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. "The operating pattern changes we are making in these two plants will accomplish both goals, while helping Ford to better meet real customer demand for Ford vehicles."
The Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid, the world's most fuel-efficient utility vehicle, set a July sales record last month of 20,241 units, its third-highest monthly sales performance since its introduction in 2000. The Escape's share of the small utility segment is 16 percent in 2009 through July, an increase of 2.3 points compared to the same period in 2008.
At the same time, the company's F-Series trucks, the best-selling truck for 32 consecutive years, posted its best U.S. monthly sales of 2009 with 36,327 units and total year-to-date share of 34.4 percent – a 1.3 point increase over year-ago levels. Further, F-Series trucks have been the sales leader in Canada for the last three months.
"Customers are taking notice of Ford's fresh new lineup, and they recognize our best-in-class quality, fuel efficiency and smart technology," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "In fact, both internal and external studies show a positive trend in the percentage of consumers with favorable opinions about Ford and our vehicles. When customers decide to pick up a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury for their driveways, we want to be ready for them."
The Escape and F-150 helped Ford record its ninth retail market share gain in 10 months in July. Other highlights in July include:
* Ford Fusion sales totaled 17,610, a July record and up 66 percent versus a year ago, and Mercury Milan sales were up 60 percent. The 2010 model Fusion and Milan and their hybrid versions are the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedans in America.
* Ford Focus sales totaled 21,830, up 44 percent versus a year ago. The Focus is among the most fuel-efficient compact cars in America with an EPA highway rating of 35 mpg.
* Ford Ranger sales totaled 7,695, up 65 percent versus a year ago. The Ranger is the most fuel-efficient compact pickup in America.
* Ford Flex sales totaled 3,631, up 65 percent versus a year ago. The Flex is among the most fuel-efficient mid-size crossover utilities in America.
* Ford's hybrid vehicles (Fusion, Milan, Escape and Mariner) posted combined sales of 5,353, a record for any month and up 323 percent versus a year ago.
More new products are on the way. The first new 2010 Ford Taurus sedans were delivered at the end of July, as well as the first Transit Connects.
This summer, Ford also debuted its EcoBoost engine technology in the Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS, Ford Flex and all-new Lincoln MKT crossover vehicle. In these vehicles, EcoBoost provides the fuel economy of a six-cylinder engine and the performance of a V-8.