According to the company, the move to retool its plants for the production of the all-new aluminum bodied 2015 Ford F-150 would mean the current generation would lose production of more than 90,000 units of its F-Series pickups.
The No.2 US automaker is building up its production process by retooling its manufacturing facilities for the new aluminum-bodied truck, allowing a big loss in sales, market share and profits in the high margins pickup truck market – betting that its best-selling and most profitable model would bring long-term gains with the new generation. Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said the company is building up inventory of the outgoing F-Series.
“It’s a one-time hit that we have to deal with on the production side to convert” the factories, he said. “Remember, we get paid on wholesales and revenue — 90,000 F-150s — I won’t tell you what that really means, but it’s a lot.”
“There isn’t a vehicle that is more important to Ford than the F-Series,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst. “They’re taking an enormous risk with the next-generation truck because aluminum is untested at this scale and they don’t know how it will be received by customers.”
With the new F-150 soon to hit the market, and the outgoing model still selling strong, Ford still expects the pick-up line to be the automaker’s biggest-seller for 2014, a US title held by the company for 32 years in a row.