Naturally, Ford very much wants to keep that momentum going, which is why it announced on Monday that it will be boosting production of both the Expedition and Navigator at its Kentucky Truck Plant by 25%.
The automaker's stock is down more than 15% so far this year.
For a little more context, last month, Expedition sales were up 57 percent, and Navigator sales were up 97.5 percent.
Ford Motor Co said on Monday it will boost production targets for two large sport utility vehicles by 25 percent this year to challenge rival General Motors Co's hegemony in a highly profitable US market segment and boost its own anemic profit margins. As impressive as both these SUVs are, it should be no surprise that demand has been high.
Like Ford'd F-150 and Super Duty trucks, the bodies of the Expedition and Navigator are now made primarily of aluminum instead of steel, shedding hundreds of pounds from the vehicles' weight. The automaker is expected to announce an additional investment into the Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant that produces them in an effort to speed up production. Most dealerships are reporting that the SUVs are sold nearly as soon as they are unloaded from the delivery truck.
"There is a big dog in the segment", Hinrichs said.
CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Navigators or Expeditions for personal use, a source with direct knowledge of the directive told Automotive News.
Ford is increasing production at the plant for the two new SUVs.
Ford will use the investment on manufacturing enhancements including 400 new robots, data analytics to increase assembly line speed and a new 3D printer that allows workers to make parts and tools quickly and cheaper.
The two SUVs went on sale last fall.
Stable, relatively low oil prices have since encouraged Americans to shun passenger cars in favor of higher-margin SUVs and pickup trucks.
The response from customers for the company's new full-size SUVs has been excellent, said Ford's Joe Hinrichs the global operations president. "They're only lasting about seven days on the lot", Kentucky Truck Plant manager, Andrew Tapp said.
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