Ford to increase vehicle production, invest $25M at Kentucky Truck Plant

(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
Published: Feb. 12, 2018 at 1:40 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2018 at 4:06 PM EST
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Ford Expedition (Source: Ford)
Ford Expedition (Source: Ford)
Lincoln Navigator (Source: Ford)
Lincoln Navigator (Source: Ford)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Ford is investing more money and increasing production of two vehicles to meet customer demand.

To help meet the demand of the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition, Ford announced it would invest an additional $25 million on Monday, bringing the total amount invested in the Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million.

"This additional investment will allow us to build 25% more than what we were originally planning for," Kentucky Truck Plant Manager Andrew Tapp said.

Tapp explained that the turnaround is fast. The automaker said the average time these SUVs spend at a dealership is around 7 days.

"The Navigator has an all-new design," Tapp said. "A lot of horse power, 450 horse power, very sleek design and a lot of new technology," Tapp said. "What we are seeing is people going into dealerships turning in other products and we are getting conquest customers."

The new investment allows Ford to increase manufacturing line speed. They've received criticism from analysts and investors for being too slow to develop mobility services and solutions.

"The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional," Global Operations present Joe Hinrichs said in a press release. "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."

Upgrades at the site include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that allows workers to make parts and tools faster, and enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible.

Todd Dunn President of Local 862 UAW said new product, development money, and the opportunity to grow is always an exciting moment. Dunn says it's growth and stability for his members who are the best tools in the tool belt.

"It's the whole family of labor that will be benefiting from the growth of that unit, that's key," Dunn said. "You gotta remember it's not just building a truck and getting it on the highway it's everything else behind the scenes that gets us there."

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.

To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts.

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