Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant Responds To Growing Luxury Vehicle Demand

Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant Responds To Growing Luxury Vehicle Demand

The Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are promoting like hotcakes! Lincoln sellers say they can’t order new Navigators rapid sufficient; the luxurious SUVs are at the lot a median of simply seven days earlier than being bought. It’s a equivalent tale for the Expedition, with an larger transaction value of $7,800 and retail gross sales up just about 57 % final month. Like the Navigator, the brand new Expedition is fortunate to spend per week on broker quite a bit, with the high-level Platinum trim accounting for just about 30 % of overall gross sales.

“The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” stated Joe Hinrichs, President, Global Operations, Ford Motor Company.

Demanding The Finest

It’s value noting how the better trim ranges proceed to be probably the most desired in Ford’s lineup. With regard to the Navigator, just about 85 % of all patrons are choosing the higher-end Black Label and Reserve fashions. In truth, call for for the Black Label and Reserve sequence contributed to a median transaction value building up of greater than $21,000 in January as opposed to a yr in the past. Add to that how Navigator retail gross sales have been up triple digits in each and every area of the rustic final month, and the rising passion from more youthful patrons, and it’s simple to look the call for is there.

In order to satisfy this apparently insatiable urge for food for massive, sumptuous SUVs, Ford is doubling down on their production methods on the Kentucky Truck Plant, house of the Navigator and Expedition. The magic quantity in Louisville is 25: Production goals have been larger roughly 25 % and an extra $25 million is coming to extend total “operational fitness.”

Sam Kirtley and Derek Clark of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant paintings with a collaborative robotic to organize glass for set up. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Factory Fit

The funding covers greater than 400 new robots on the Kentucky Truck Plant, lots of which have been applied throughout a transforming of the frame store final yr. The robots inevitably building up line pace but additionally stay staff secure from repetitive-motion accidents. A unique “robot lab” used to be added, the place instrument is examined and doable problems go through troubleshooting clear of the manufacturing unit flooring.

Also onsite in Louisville is a brand new 3-d printer so portions and equipment can also be made briefly and economically. In maximum circumstances, production a prototype section with conventional strategies can take 8 to 16 weeks at a value of greater than $250,000 in tooling. Producing that very same section with 3-d printing can take days – or possibly simply hours – and can also be accomplished for a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks.

Wayne McKinney of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant assessments an element that used to be simply published the use of a brand new 3-d printer. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Analytics & Vending Machines

Finally, the funding comprises an overhaul to the knowledge analytics device so the meeting line strikes as successfully as conceivable. These methods are as attention-grabbing as they’re complicated however in brief, they assist plant officers cope with hundreds of considerations in near-real time. The “data analytics hub” on the Kentucky Truck Plant comprises seven big-screen TVs with minute-by-minute updates appearing whether or not manufacturing is on agenda or no longer. Any doable considerations are flagged and can also be addressed accordingly.

The device additionally notifies staff as portions are operating low so they may be able to have a brand new batch brought to their house earlier than they run out. And like within the damage room, a spare portions “vending machine” permits staff to simply find any section.

“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,” Hinrichs stated.

Brad Steward and Dan Boone of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant evaluation knowledge on the plant’s information analytic middle. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Kentucky Truck

The Kentucky Truck Plant opened in 1969 and employs greater than eight,400 folks, about eight,100 of which can be hourly. The plant builds the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Ford Super Duty. Like the 2 former, the latter has a higher-end trim point Ford says is immediately proportional to what patrons are searching for these days, i.e. luxurious and top class options. In truth, the call for for all 3 is so robust, staff are taking additional time, voluntary, and weekend shifts in Louisville.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and is living in Detroit, Michigan. He research mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves at the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a devoted Detroit Lions fan.

Kentucky Truck Gallery

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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