Ford Boosts Expedition, Navigator Production Due To High Demand

Lincoln Navigator

Business Insider

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

Since launching the two new SUVs past year, Ford has been "straining" to meet demand, Mark LaNeve, Ford's USA sales chief, said during a conference call earlier this month.

Why turn away customers willing to fork over lots of money?

"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".

Navigator sales are up triple digits in every region of the country, including a 135 percent gain in Ford's western sales region, which includes California, Merkle said.

Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and almost 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models. Expedition, which starts at $51,695, has delivered an initial 57% sales jump and seen its average transaction price rise $7,800 as demand has grown for its high-trim Platinum edition.

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The Expedition and Navigator are among the company's most profitable vehicles.

Earlier in February, the vice president for US marketing and sales at Ford Mark LaNeve said the company could not make enough Lincoln Navigators. The robots enable the plant to increase the line speed while keeping employees safe from repetitive-motion injuries.

Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles and around 85% of buyers choose high end Black Label and Reserve models.

The automaker's stock is down more than 15% so far this year. The plant also added a robot lab, where employees can test out software tweaks or trouble shoot issues away from the factory floor - in both instances, saving valuable time. The automaker said it can sometimes take 16 weeks to produce a prototype part for the plant; the 3D printer can potentially have the same part ready in days, if not hours at a fraction of the cost.

"If we can make more units of things that are in demand, or if we can have less downtime, or if we could have better quality ... fitness is all-inclusive", Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.

The Louisville facility, according to Detroit News, employs more than 8,000 workers.

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