April 6, 2018
Customers have spoken and Ford has responded. The company has increased production at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production by 25 percent due to overwhelming customer demand.
The all-new 2018 Ford Expedition is drawing new buyers in record numbers, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales. Sales of 2018 Expeditions are up nearly 57 percent over last year and the SUVs are flying off dealer lots in just seven days.
At the same time, Lincoln Navigators are selling at record pace as well. Lincoln dealers are seeing customers driving onto the lot in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles and trading them in for a 2018 Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models. Navigator sales are up triple digits in every region of the country, with significant growth in important markets including Florida, Texas, and California.
In order to accommodate the increased demand, Ford has invested an additional $25 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant. This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades allow the lines to run faster, producing more vehicles, with no loss in quality.
Upgrades include 400 new robots, along with a new state-of-the-art 3D printer to produce parts and tools more quickly and at a lower cost, dropping the time required from days or weeks to hours and costs from thousands of dollars to hundreds. In addition, enhanced data analytics makes certain the right parts are in the right place at exactly the right time to keep the assembly line moving with great efficiency.
But it’s not just about capital investments and automated equipment; Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are making a significant contribution to the effort by working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts to make certain customers are able to purchase the Expedition or Navigator of their choice.
More than 400 new robots were added to the facility primarily in the body shop last year in preparation for the new aluminum-intensive Expedition and Navigator. At the same time a robot lab was established at the plant, which allows engineers and workers to fine-tune the machines as well as trouble-shoot problems.
Data analytics allow plant workers to be proactive, alerting them to instances of pending parts shortages so they can arrange for a new batch to be delivered to a work station on a “just in time” basis. To allow those workers to locate parts more quickly, the components warehouse has been organized into an enormous “vending machine” which automatically monitors inventory and maintains optimal levels.
And it’s not just customers who love the new Expedition. Check out what the editors of Motor Trend magazine wrote: “The 2018 Ford Expedition’s blend of performance (both on- and off-road), comfort, utility, and tech easily make it the new benchmark for the full-size SUV class.” So head on into Team Ford and check out the standard or long-wheelbase version of the 2018 Expedition – more are rolling in every day!
Come out and see us for a test drive today.