The F-Series posted a 17-percent leap in January, helping to push Ford sales to a 15-percent gain for the month. The F-Series had its best January performance in 11 years with sales of 54,370 trucks last month.
Much of this strength comes from the new generation of the F-150. While many of the old model are still being sold off, Ford is rolling out the new version. Just five percent of the F-150's retail sales were the new truck in December, but it was up to 18 percent in January.
The increase comes as the first factory that makes the truck, Ford's Dearborn facility, is fully back online. The other F-150 factory, in Kansas City, is still completing its changeover to build the aluminum-bodied truck, and that's expected to be finished in the first quarter of this year. Sales of the truck will still be "tempered a bit" until the Kansas City plant ramps up, Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said. Ford expects to have a full inventory of F-150s by mid-year.
To that end, the company announced plans on Wednesday to add 1,550 jobs to support the F-150, including 900 positions at the Kansas City factory. The remaining jobs will be spread out over sites in metro Detroit. The Dearborn and Kansas City factories collectively will be able to build more than 700,000 F-150s annually. The added headcount also means Ford has reached the maximum number of entry-level workers allowed under its pact with the United Auto Workers. About 300 to 500 employees at several plants in the Midwest will transition to a higher pay rate, and their wages will rise from $19.28 an hour to $28.50 an hour.
The F-Series was Ford's hottest seller in January, moving off lots in an average of 12 days. The high-end models, the King Ranch and the Platinum versions, are moving slightly quicker. The average transaction price is also up $2,100 for the F-150 compared to January 2014.
"We're really pleased with how the new one is doing on dealer lots," Merkle said.
A larger stock of F-150s will allow Ford and its rivals to capitalize on low fuel prices, which have slowed consumers' interest in smaller vehicles.
"In particular, those manufacturers with fullsize pickups and SUVs, including GM, Ford, FCA and Toyota, will enjoy sales gains over and above their rivals in today's environment of exceptionally low fuel prices," IHS analyst Tom Libby said in a statement.
Ford Adds 1,550 Jobs to Support Demand for All-New F-150; Hundreds of Entry-Level Workers to Attain 'New Traditional' Status
• Ford is adding 1,550 new jobs to its Kansas City Assembly, Dearborn Stamping, Dearborn Diversified and Sterling Axle facilities to meet growing demand for the all-new 2015 F-150 – the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever.
• As part of Ford's commitment in the 2011 UAW-Ford collective bargaining agreement, approximately 300 to 500 workers – the first group of "new traditional" employees – will transition in the first quarter, based on attrition and growth, to $28.50 an hour.
• The entry-level agreement has enabled Ford to invest more than $6.2 billion in its U.S. plants and hire more than 15,000 hourly UAW members – up from the 12,000 jobs that were promised by 2015 in the contract agreement.
• In January, Ford F-Series had its strongest sales month since 2004; F-150 sits just 12 days on dealer lots – turning faster than any other Ford vehicle.
As Ford ramps up production of the all-new F-150, the company today announced it will add 1,550 new jobs across its Kansas City Assembly, Dearborn Stamping, Dearborn Diversified and Sterling Axle facilities in the first quarter of 2015. The new jobs will support production and growing customer demand for the recently launched 2015 Ford F-150.
With these new jobs, Ford has reached its entry-level allowance outlined in the 2011 UAW-Ford collective bargaining agreement. As a result, approximately 300 to 500 workers – the first group of "new traditional" employees – will transition, based on attrition and growth, from their entry-level wage of $19.28 an hour to their new wage of $28.50 an hour. The majority of these employees work at Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville assembly facilities.
"Thanks to stronger than expected customer demand, we're adding 1,550 new workers to support additional F-150 production," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. "These jobs are further proof that customers recognize the all-new F-150 as the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever. We sell every truck we can build, and we plan to build more."
Of the 1,550 new jobs, 900 are allocated for Kansas City Assembly and 500 will be added between Dearborn Stamping and Dearborn Diversified, with the remaining 150 jobs going to Sterling Axle. These jobs are in addition to the more than 5,000 hourly jobs Ford added across its U.S. manufacturing facilities in 2014.
"This is very exciting news and these additional jobs will have an impact in communities all across our nation," said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department. "This also represents a major milestone for employees hired under the entry level agreement, as many will now begin to convert to 'new traditional' wage status, as negotiated in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement."
The entry-level agreement negotiated as part of UAW-Ford collective bargaining has helped improve Ford's competitiveness and enabled the company to invest more than $6.2 billion in its U.S. manufacturing facilities. Ford has hired more than 15,000 hourly UAW members – exceeding its goal of creating 12,000 hourly jobs in the United States by 2015.
Toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever The all-new F-150 is the toughest, smartest and most capable F-150 ever – boasting a military-grade, aluminum-alloy body and high-strength steel frame, and shedding up to 700 pounds for a lighter, more efficient truck than any previous F-150.
These weight savings lead to customer benefits regardless of model configuration or engine choice. The innovative new truck can tow up to 1,100 more pounds and haul up to 530 more pounds than the 2014 model, and has the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of any full-size gasoline pickup on the market. When equipped with an available 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine, the new F-150 4x2 has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Actual mileage may vary.
Numerous groundbreaking features debuted in the all-new F-150, including these class-exclusives:
• 360-degree camera view uses exterior cameras to create a bird's-eye view of the truck to help drivers park, maneuver in tight spots, and navigate narrow roads and trails
• Integrated loading ramps enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
• BoxLink™ cargo management system combines metal brackets and custom cleats to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box – from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
• Trailer hitch assist adds a new rearview camera feature that incorporates a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up their truck and trailer with no spotter or need to exit the vehicle
• Remote tailgate allows for tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob
To manufacture the all-new Ford F-150, the truck team designed an innovative process that includes the latest in advanced materials and in forming and joining technologies.
The new manufacturing process called for the overhaul of both Dearborn Truck and Kansas City Assembly facilities. Dearborn Truck saw its largest manufacturing transformation in decades wherein legacy manufacturing equipment was replaced with the latest in production technology. Changeover at the facility was completed last fall. Kansas City Assembly is currently undergoing a similar renovation that is scheduled to be complete in early 2015.
Combined, the two plants will have capacity to produce more than 700,000 trucks per year for availability in 90 markets globally.
F-150 is part of Ford F-Series, celebrating its 38th straight year as America's best-selling truck and 33rd straight year as America's best-selling vehicle. Ford sold 753,851 trucks in 2014.
The all-new F-150 is off to a tremendous start. In January, Ford F-Series had its strongest sales month since 2004, which was the company's best sales year for the F-150 ever. In the first month of 2015, F-150 sat just 12 days on dealer lots – turning faster than any other Ford vehicle. In addition, more than 1 million people have built and priced F-150 configurations on Ford's website.