Customer demand is through the roof for Ford and Lincoln’s biggest SUVs, a “problem” that Ford is addressing by making a $25 million investment in its Kentucky Truck Plant.
On top of the $900 million already spent to launch the 2018 Expedition and Navigator, this new investment will allow the automaker to build 25% more SUVs this year than originally planned. Upgrades to the plant include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics and a new 3D printer that can make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper.
“It’s important for this plant to produce more vehicles,” stated Ford exec Joe Hinrichs. “In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we’ve hoped for.”
Last month, Expedition sales went up by 59%, while Navigator sales skyrocketed by a whooping 132%, as the two SUVs wasted little time leaving dealer lots, reports Autonews. In fact, the Expedition is averaging just 11 days on dealer lots, while the Navigator can brag about how 84% of its sales involve the high-end Reserve ($82,400) and Black Label ($96,650) trims – for which customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles.
“We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them,” said Ford’s VP for US marketing, Mark LaNeve, while Kevin Collins, president of Bill Collins Ford-Lincoln in Louisville mentioned how the two models are only sitting at his store for five or six days before they’re sold.
“Stock is low right now and they’re selling very, very well. We hope the days supply will continue at that rate because they’re expensive; a dealer can’t afford to have them sitting around too long.”