just-auto.com

US: Ford adding new vehicles, plants and 5,000 jobs in 2014

By Graeme Roberts | 13 December 2013

Ford said it would next year launch 23 new vehicles around the world, open three more manufacturing facilities and add more than 5,000 new jobs in the United States to meet growing demand for its products.

“Next year, we are embarking on our most ambitious global launch year ever to meet customer demand for our products around the world,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development.

Ford expects its global launches next year to more than double those of 2013.

It's on pace this year to produce 6m vehicles led by the Focus, the claimed world’s best-selling single nameplate, which is on track to reach 1.1m sales this year.

Gains also are coming from the small utility segment. Globally, utilities are expected to grow at almost twice the rate of the overall industry during the next five years.

In the United States, Ford is the best selling utility brand for the third straight year, outpacing its nearest competitor through November by 31%. Utility sales are led by the Escape, which delivered its best annual sales record this year through November – with still another month left. Escape has sold more than 271,000 units, surpassing record 2012 sales of 261,008 vehicles.

Sales also remain strong for the F-Series, which is on track to be the best-selling pickup for 37 years. Sales are up 20% through November; the automaker expects to sell more than 730,000 F-Series trucks this year.

US market share is growing at a faster rate than any of its competitors, rising five-tenths of a percentage point through November. The midsize sedan segment is contributing to these gains, with the Fusion selling at record levels and sales up 22% this year.

Next year there will be 16 new vehicle launches in North America, including Lincoln. These new vehicles include the Mustang, Transit Connect, Transit and Lincoln MKC. 

“We saw unprecedented growth in the United States this year, especially in the midsize and utility segments,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas. “With the addition of 16 new products to our showroom, including Mustang, our momentum continues.”

Production of the Transit will begin in second quarter 2014 at the newly retooled Kansas City Assembly Plant at a cost of $1.1bn.

Kansas City will add more than 2,000 jobs – more than 1,000 of which are new hires – to support high demand for F-150 plus production of the Transit family of commercial vehicles starting next summer.

New plants

In Asia Pacific Africa, Ford sold its millionth vehicle in October. In the third quarter, market share in its fastest-growing region increased six-tenths of a percentage point, to 3.7%. In China, the company’s market share grew to a record 4.3% in the third quarter, up eight-tenths of a percentage point, reflecting very strong sales of Kuga, EcoSport and Focus.

Ford will open three new manufacturing facilities – two of them in Asia Pacific and one in South America.

Next year, Ford is on track to open its Changan Ford Assembly Plant No. 3 and Changan Transmission Plant in Chongqing, China, as well as Camaçari Engine Plant in Brazil. The new Chongqing Assembly Plant will increase the company’s production capacity in China by 300,000 units next year.

“This is the fastest and most aggressive manufacturing expansion the company has undergone in 50 years,” said John Fleming, executive vice president, global manufacturing.

Hiring

Ford plans to hire more than 6,000 employees in Asia next year, the vast majority of them hourly employees. Similarly, in the United States, Ford expects to create more than 5,000 new jobs, including 3,300 salaried positions, the largest hiring initiative since 2000. In the past two years, the company has created more than 14,000 jobs in North America alone.

More than 80% of the new salaried jobs will be technical professionals who work in product development, manufacturing, quality and IT.

Technology

In 2014, Ford also will continue its major global shift to provide customers with more fuel efficiency technologies.

The EcoBoost engine family, which delivers fuel efficiency and performance, adds two new offerings next year – a new 2.3-litre version and one soon to be named [a 1.5 is expected - ed]. The one-litre I3 engine offered in Fiesta and Focus in Europe goes on sale in North America for the first time. With a fuel economy rating of 45 mpg highway, the NAFTA Fiesta with the engine is claimed to be the most fuel efficient non hybrid vehicle available in America.

Fuel efficiency technologies, such as auto start-stop, also will be offered on more vehicles in North America. The feature is currently available on the Fusion. It will spread to highest-volume products, covering 70% of the company’s North America volume.

Success in hybrids – selling more than 80,000 through November – is expected to continue. In 2014, Ford plans to add more than 400 new positions to its powertrain engineering team, including approximately 100 new hybrid and electrified vehicle engineers.

Ford also is expanding its technology offerings, including new driver-assist features such as perpendicular park.