Ford said it was increasing production of two full-size SUVs by boosting line speed at its Kentucky truck plant which makes the recently redesigned Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition.

Output target increase is now 25% over the production launch rate.

A recent US$25m spend allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed. Upgrades for the 2018 models included 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible.

Ford claimed its Lincoln dealers stock the new SUVs an average of seven days before they are sold.

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

Average transaction price rose over $21,000 in January versus a year ago.

Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. They more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40% and new interest from younger buyers.

The lower priced Ford Expedition was also off to a strong start, according to the automaker, with the top Platinum trim models representing
29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January.

Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57% last month and vehicles are spending only seven days on dealer lots.

Kentucky assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts to keep up.