Ford hired 900 new workers to add the F-150 at its Kansas City plant

Ford hired 900 new workers to add the F-150 at its Kansas City plant

Ford on Friday (13 March) marked the official start of production of the redesigned 2015 F-150 pickup truck line at its Kansas City Assembly Plant. The model was built first at the Dearborn truck factory in Michigan.

The Kansas and Dearborn factories now have capacity to produce about 700,000 F-150 pickups a year for sales in 90 markets.

The F-150 is Ford's top selling vehicle model line in the US and also the country's single most popular model.

According to just-auto data, the F-150 in full calendar year 2014 accounted for 753,851 of Ford's 2,471,315 light vehicle sales in the US. F-series volume slipped 1.3% year on year due to the full model change during 2014; Ford's total volume was off 0.6% last year.

In the first two months of 2015, F-150 sales rose 7% to 109,606 units, helping Ford to a 6% year on year rise to a total of 357,114 vehicles year to date.

This latest F-150 is, Ford claims, the first mass produced light-duty pickup truck with a high strength, military grade, aluminium alloy body. In addition to producing all models and cab configurations, the additional production at Kansas City now includes versions with an eight-foot cargo box and heavy payload package for commercial fleet customers.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas, said: "With production starting at Kansas City Assembly, we are better poised to start meeting growing customer demand for our pickup."

Ford data showed the F-Series had its strongest sales month since 2004 in January while retail sales increased 7% last month.

"These numbers make F-Series one of Ford’s fastest-selling vehicles, at just 18 days to turn on dealer lots – well below the light-duty full-size pickup truck average of 105 days," the automaker said in a statement.

In 2011, Ford announced a US$1.1bn spend to retool and expand Kansas City to build both the F-150 and the recently launched, UK-designed Transit full size van family which is replacing the long running domestic design E series in North America. 

It took 13 weeks to upgrade the Kansas City plant  to build the F-150. Upgrades included a new body shop with more than 500 new robots which use riveting and structural adhesives to make the alloy bodies, more compact robots to install roof and door panels and to transfer the trucks to final assembly, robots with cameras to scan bodies for quality checks, an updated paint shop with dirt detection technology and increased robotic paint automation, new production processes to support new features such as the 360-degree all around view camera with split-view display and a rough road test course.

Ford also hired 900 new workers for the plant.

See also: US: Buyers favour high-end F-150 versions

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Kansas City Assembly Plant Comes on Line as Second U.S. Factory Building All-New Ford F-150

 

  • 2015 Ford F-150 starts production at Kansas City Assembly Plant; along with three shifts in operation at Dearborn Truck Plant, Ford is now producing even more units of the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever
  • All-new F-150 is turning more than four times faster than the overall full-size pickup truck segment; In addition to producing all F-150 models and cab configurations, Kansas City exclusively builds specialty F-150s with 8-foot cargo boxes and heavy payload packages to meet the needs of commercial fleet customers
  • Kansas City Assembly Plant facilities transformed with the latest in manufacturing technology to build the first mass-produced truck in its class featuring a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body and bed  

CLAYCOMO, Mo., March 13, 2015 – Ford today marks the official start of production of the all-new 2015 F-150 at Kansas City Assembly Plant, which joins Dearborn Truck Plant in building the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever.  

This means Ford has expanded production of the first mass-produced light-duty pickup truck with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body. In addition to producing all F-150 models and cab configurations, production at Kansas City Assembly Plant now includes F-150s with an 8-foot cargo box and heavy payload package to meet the needs of commercial fleet customers.

“The all-new F-150 has surpassed our expectations – setting new standards for full-size truck capability, technology and efficiency,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “With production starting at Kansas City Assembly, we are better poised to start meeting growing customer demand for our pickup.”

The all-new F-150 is off to a strong start. In January, F-Series had its strongest sales month since 2004 – Ford’s best sales year ever for F-150. Retail sales increased 7 percent in February. These numbers make F-Series one of Ford’s fastest-selling vehicles, at just 18 days to turn on dealer lots – well below the light-duty full-size pickup truck average of 105 days.

F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series lineup. Now in its 67th year, F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 33 consecutive years and America’s favorite truck for 38 years.

“The rollout of the all-new Missouri-made F-150 cements our position as America’s truck manufacturing headquarters and marks a historic moment that has been years in the making,” said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. “Six years ago, we made a commitment that the vehicles of the future would be built right here in the Show-Me State, and with today’s launch of the 2015 Ford F-150, we are delivering on that promise.”

Kansas City Assembly Plant renovation
In 2011, Ford announced a $1.1 billion investment to retool and expand Kansas City Assembly Plant to support production of both F-150 and the Transit full-size van family. 

Similar to the work Dearborn Truck Plant received, 13 weeks were spent upgrading Kansas City Assembly Plant with the latest in advanced materials and forming and joining technologies to support F-150’s innovative manufacturing process. 

Upgrades to the facility include: 

  • More than 900 new workers added to ensure the new 2015 F-150 is built with the highest level of quality and craftsmanship
  • All-new body shop with more than 500 new robots:
  • Robots to conduct state-of-the-art joining technology using riveting and structural adhesives – resulting in a tougher, more durable truck and a quieter, nearly spark-free manufacturing environment
  • More compact robots to install roof and door panels and to transfer the light-weighted truck to final assembly – resulting in a smaller manufacturing footprint
  • Robots with cameras to scan truck body to ensure the highest quality standards are met
  • Updated paint shop with dirt detection technology and increased robotic paint automation for a durable, best-in-class exterior appearance
  • Innovative production processes to support installation of new truck features such as class-exclusive 360-degree camera with split-view display 
  • Rough-road test course to replicate extreme, real-life road conditions to ensure delivery of quiet, more durable truck

“The hardworking men and women of UAW Local 249 and Kansas City Assembly Plant are proud to be part of the F-Series tradition – one that continues to set the standard by which all American trucks are measured,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department. “But the real contribution goes far beyond these walls; the addition of 900 new jobs and more than $1 billion in financial investment provides tremendous stability to the Kansas City, Missouri community, for which the entire UAW-Ford family can be proud.”

Combined, Kansas City Assembly and Dearborn Truck facilities will have capacity to produce more than 700,000 Ford F-150 pickups per year for availability in 90 markets globally.

Toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever
The all-new F-150 is the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever – boasting a military-grade, aluminum-alloy body and high-strength steel frame, and shedding up to 700 pounds for a lighter, more efficient truck than any previous F-150.

The weight savings lead to customer benefits regardless of model configuration or engine choice. The innovative new truck can tow up to 1,100 more pounds and haul up to 530 more pounds than the 2014 model, and it has the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of any full-size gasoline pickup on the market. When equipped with an available 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine, the new F-150 4x2 returns EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Actual mileage will vary.

Numerous groundbreaking features debuted in the all-new F-150, including these class-exclusives:

  • 360-degree camera view uses exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help drivers park, maneuver in tight spots, and navigate narrow roads and trails when driving slowly
  • Integrated loading ramps enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
  • BoxLink cargo management system combines metal brackets and custom cleats to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box – from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
  • Trailer hitch assist adds a new rearview camera feature that incorporates a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up their truck and trailer with no spotter or need to exit the vehicle
  • Remote tailgate allows for tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob

The 2015 Ford F-150 has won the following awards and accolades:

  • 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year
  • Detroit Free Press 2015 Truck of the Year
  • Detroit News 2015 Vehicle of the Year
  • AAA Top Pick 2015 Pickup Truck
  • Motor Trend’s Truck Trend Magazine 2015 Pickup Truck of the Year
  • Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Truck and Best Buy Overall
  • Popular Science Automotive Grand Award Winner Best of What’s New
  • Texas Auto Writers Association Truck of Texas
  • Texas Auto Writers Association Luxury Pickup Truck
  • Texas Auto Writers Association Full-Size Pickup Truck
  • Texas Auto Writers Association Best Technology Feature for high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy
  • New England Motor Press Association Yankee Cup
  • Automotive Fleet Magazine 2014 Fleet Truck of the Year
  • Motor Press Guild 2014 Innovation Vehicle of the Year Over $30K
  • AutoGuide 2015 Reader’s Choice Truck of the Year
  • Automobile Journalists Association of Canada 2015 Best New Pickup Truck
  • New Car Test Drive 2015 Truck of the Year
  • Ruedas ESPN Best Full-Size Pickup Truck

Original source: Ford