Ford dealers around the country breathed a massive sigh of relief on March 12th, as production for the all-new 2015 F-150 at The Blue Oval’s Kansas City, Missouri plant has finally come online.
The Kansas City facility is the second plant to produce the new F-150. Until today, Ford’s new truck was solely produced at the automaker’s truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
“With production starting at Kansas City Assembly, we are better poised to start meeting growing customer demand for our pickup,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas.
But the Kansas City plant won’t simply supplement demand for the F-150. It will, first and foremost, produce all F-150 models and cab configurations. In addition, it will exclusively churn out F-150s with an 8-foot cargo box and trucks with heavy payload packages, the latter mostly serving commercial fleet usage.
Changes to produce the new aluminum-bodied F-150 at the plant didn’t come over night. In 2011, Ford announced a $1.1 billion investment into the plant to support production of the F-150 and the new Ford Transit van family. The company spent 13 weeks upgrading and retooling the plant for the F-150, which included adding a new body shop with more than 500 new robots, training thousands of staff and adding loads of new jobs.
Between the Kansas City and Dearborn plants, Ford will have a combined capacity to produce more than 700,000 Ford F-150s per year, or roughly 58,300 per month. The trucks will head to 90 markets around the world.
The Motrolix Take
With F-150 production now in full swing, it will be very interesting to see true market demand in the truck market. For starters, Ford will not be able to use lack of production capacity for the new F-150 as an excuse for slumping F-Series sales. So, will Ford’s aluminum F-150 sweep away the competition when it comes to sales, or will Chevy’s high-strength steel or Ram’s sky-high incentives and a diesel motor in a light-duty truck turn out to be more appealing? We’ll revisit in a month, so stay tuned.