Ford will increase production for deliveries to US dealers by 13% in the first quarter of 2011 and is mulling adding third shifts to some of its plants.

Ford, which increased US sales by 19.5% in 2010 to 1.93m, told Reuters many of its plants are working overtime and can further ramp up production with more shifts to respond to higher sales.

“You should expect continued increases as the year goes on,” said Ken Czubay, Ford US sales chief.

Czubay and Jim Farley, Ford global marketing chief, spoke to the news agency after Ford executives met with US Ford dealers at the National Automotive Dealers Association annual convention at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Czubay said the company was “studying” adding third shifts at some of its USplants to meet higher demand, but has no definite plans to do so.

“We are looking at it on a vehicle by vehicle basis,” Czubay said.

“All the plants right now are running flat out relative to our ability to get the suppliers together. We are running full out,” said Czubay.

In past months, Ford has had to slow and stop production at some of its plants due to a lack of supplier parts.

Farley said retail demand was up 27% in January.

“So we are trying to catch up with just customer demand,” Farley said.

Czubay said the new version of the Ford Explorer SUV is leading the sales, and that inventories of that product are tight for dealers.

“Demand is high for new product across the board,” said Czubay.