During the official production opening ceremony, the recently appointed Ford CEO Mark Fields sent a clear message to the competitors – the company aims to keep its sovereign control over the profitable full-size pickup segment.
Many skeptics pointed out to the sales slipping and profit diminishing, triggered by the massive overhaul needed to accommodate the revolutionary production of the aluminum-bodied truck. But the managers were keen on upholding their forecasted schedule for the model, as the first 2015 F-150 pickups rolled off the assembly line – after many industry observers said the second-largest automaker was rolling the dice on its biggest gamble in decades, changing the vehicle’s architecture from the traditional steel body to an aluminum-intensive design. Ford has touted though many benefits: weight reduction, improved fuel ratings, higher towing and larger payload capacity. Even the costs are not so big – while steel is much less expensive than aluminum, Ford has worked out a great deal to use recycled aluminum.
While the competition has used the necessary down times of the F-150 factories (needed to retool) to close the sales gap on the pickup series, Fields stresses that Focus is focusing on quality, not quantity – with full production capacity not expected until the second quarter of 2015.