The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have been moving quite rapidly off dealer lots. In January, sales of the Expedition rose 59 percent while the Navigator saw a jaw-dropping 132 percent increase. But this is proving to be a problem for Ford as their dealers can't get enough of either model to satisfy consumer demand. A source told Automotive News that CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Expeditions and Navigators to help get more out into the world. The source said restricting employees from ordering a mainstream vehicle is very rare.
"We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service during Ford's monthly sales call earlier this month.
Ford will be addressing this issue with a $25 million investment into their Kentucky Truck Plant today. The investment will allow the plant to produce 25 percent more Expedition and Navigator models.
"It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles. In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford
Press Release is on Page 2
FORD INCREASING PRODUCTION OF ALL-NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR, FORD EXPEDITION TO MEET GREATER-THAN-ANTICIPATED CUSTOMER DEMAND
- Ford is increasing production of two entirely new SUVs – the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition – to meet surging customer demand
- A new $25 million investment brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed; company has boosted production targets for full-size SUVs approximately 25 percent since fall
- This additional investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades all help the company improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 12, 2018 – Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models.
The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market.
“The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.”
A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed.
This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades are examples of the company’s quest to improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible.
Surging customer demand
Lincoln dealers simply can’t keep the entirely new Navigator on dealer lots; the luxury SUVs are spending an average of just seven days at the dealership before they are sold.
Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models.
Customer demand for the highly-equipped Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. Navigator sales more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40 percent and new interest from younger consumers.
Expedition also is off to a strong start, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January. Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57 percent last month and vehicles are spending just seven days on dealer lots.
To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts.