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Ford Scrambling to Build More Big SUVs

Ford Scrambling to Build More Big SUVs

Ford Motor Company cannot keep up with demand for its redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. 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.

According to Ford, dealerships can’t keep the 2018 Expedition and Navigator in stock right now. Most dealerships are reporting that the SUVs are sold almost as soon as they are unloaded from the delivery truck. This good problem is bad enough CEO Jim Hackett has put a ban on employees buying either SUV to free up as many as possible for paying customers, according to Automotive News.

To further align supply with demand, Ford will announce a $25 million investment into its SUV assembly plant. The investment is expected to speed up the assembly line to the point Ford will ultimately produce 25 percent more SUVs this year than originally planned. Details as to how Ford will achieve this have not been disclosed.

This upcoming announcement is in addition to $900 million Ford has already invested in the Louisville plant to produce the new SUVs.

Recently redesigned for 2018, both the Expedition and Navigator are considered highly competitive in the full-size SUV segment. Average transaction prices for the Expedition were up $7,800 in January, while the new Navigator managed a massive increase of $21,300.

Full-size SUVs are notorious profit centers for automakers, so Ford’s eagerness to produce more of them comes as little surprise.





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. NoStopN






    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_L
    View Post

    That's for the highest end one base price went up about 10k. It's right inline with the Escalade now and quite frankly a better vehicle all around.




    And we also remember that GM jacked the prices for their triplets up with the 2015 redesign.
    Andrew_L






    Quote Originally Posted by NoStopN
    View Post

    Navigator transaction prices up $20K over the previous model? Geez Louise. I saw Doug Demuro do a review of a 2018 Nav L & he quoted the thing as costing $100K & I had to ask myself, "$100K? For a Lincoln?" I suppose this shows the gulf between the mainstream buyer & certain auto enthusiasts. I'm not saying that Lincoln vehicles couldn't justify a 6-figure price tag, but it seems as if Lincoln is increasing prices by leaps & bounds, not in small incremental steps.




    That's for the highest end one base price went up about 10k. It's right inline with the Escalade now and quite frankly a better vehicle all around.
    NoStopN
    Navigator transaction prices up $20K over the previous model? Geez Louise. I saw Doug Demuro do a review of a 2018 Nav L & he quoted the thing as costing $100K & I had to ask myself, "$100K? For a Lincoln?" I suppose this shows the gulf between the mainstream buyer & certain auto enthusiasts. I'm not saying that Lincoln vehicles couldn't justify a 6-figure price tag, but it seems as if Lincoln is increasing prices by leaps & bounds, not in small incremental steps.
    Tone
    I would hate to be a product planner right now. With US shale, near-term it appears that oil has a ceiling in price of around $100 a barrel or less — much above $80 and shale oil ramps up supply which dampens further price growth. That points to happy days for US automakers as it means that big, high-margin CUV/SUVs are in-demand.

    On the other hand, despite a growing economy, wages aren’t universally growing very quickly. And credit is as cheap as it’s going to get. With 96-month notes becoming more commonplace, the market seems to be signaling that a lot of people are already buying or leasing more vehicle than they can really afford. I’m no expert, but that doesn’t sound sustainable.

    Plus, new tech (more capable BEVs and autonomy and the resulting growth in transportation as a service) could quickly upend the automakers existing business models. So, they need to be investing in a speculative future to make sure they don’t get caught flat footed if the market suddenly starts to shift.

    How the heck to you plan a portfolio in that context?! More big trucks and SUVs that people might not be able to afford to buy? Invest in tech that might disrupt the industry yet always be five years away from broad commercialization? You can almost smell the change coming, but predicting the shape of that change is nearly impossible!
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