Ford Motors has announced that it will ramp up production for its larger SUVs as demand explodes for the Ford Navigator and Ford Expedition models.
The big three car manufacturer said it will invest another $25 million in factory improvements to facilitate a 25 percent increase in production of the SUV models, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Ford reports that car dealers across the country have been having trouble keeping the SUVs in stock as they roll off lots within days after being delivered.
The carmaker remarked that customers are intensely interested in high-end SUVs in this, the era of Trump.
“Nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers chose high-end Black Label and Reserve models in January 2018, which drove up the transaction price $21,000 from a year ago to $77,400. Sales are driven primarily by Texans, Floridians and Californians,” The Free Press reported. “They’re trading in competitor vehicles — known in the industry as a ‘conquest’ — at a rate of 40%.”
The more expensive Platinum Expedition model made up 29 percent of sales, Ford said. SUV sales have become a growing part of the company’s sales. Indeed, many customers are trading in luxury vehicles like Mercedes, Lexus, and Land Rovers to secure one of Ford’s high-end SUVs.
In a recent press junket to the company’s Louisville, Kentucky, truck plant, Ford’s president of global operations, Joe Hinrichs, also touted several new capabilities including a series of massive 3-D printers. The machines can manufacture parts or tools in hours instead of weeks helping move production at a faster rate and to minimize work stoppage due to missing parts.
In one instance, Hinrichs noted that the 3-D printers can make a part that used to cost Ford $7 per piece from an outside supplier but now that they are made in-house the company saves hundreds of thousands of dollars over the length of production.
Hinrichs celebrated the workers and technicians running the new lines.
“This is like a big orchestra, and everybody has to come together to make the music beautiful,” Hinrichs said during the press availability. “This is not an easy environment. The whole blue-collar, white-collar thing we do? It’s wrong. We rely on these people to solve our problems all day long.”
With winter hitting the Midwest and east heavy this year, Hinrichs also touted the Ford SUVs for seasonal transportation. “The Navigator is so big, so heavy,” he said. “Aces in the snow.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.