Ford ramps up F-150 production ahead of 2009 model changeover

If you ever wanted to put an Ford F-150 in your driveway, this summer may be the best time to make your move. As the new 2009 F-150 nears production, Ford is increasing its plant's output of the 2008 F-150 to ensure enough supply remains during July and August when plant production will be transitioning to the all-new model. The last time Ford took such measures was back in 2003, when it sold the F-150 "Heritage" alongside its replacement. Things have changed, however, as there are now only two plants producing the F-150 (compared to four in 2003), and the economy isn't nearly as strong.

There is a fair amount of risk involved during a model change-over for a vehicle with such high sales and production numbers (Ford sold about 414,000 F-150s in 2007). On one hand, Ford needs to keep dealers from drying out during the production slow-down. On the other, the last thing dealers need is a surplus of 2008 models just as the 2009 models arrive. It is a delicate balancing game between supply and demand.

With production ramping, supplies are already up. As of March 1st, Ford had an inventory of 200,000 F-series pickups (a 96-day supply). Last year at this time, it had 176,200. Inventory isn't the only thing on the rise. In a move that will benefit consumers, financial incentives are skyrocketing. Compared to this time last year, incentives are up by $733 to a whopping $4,514 per truck. Nothing sounds sweeter to consumers than high inventory levels combined with substantial incentives -- if you are in the market for a new F-150, this is music to your ears.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd, Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty]

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