An investment of about $80 million into its Kentucky truck plant should help boost Ford’s (NYSE:F) production of pickups and SUVs this year, Reuters reported on Thursday. Last year, the facility in Louisville — one of two Ford facilities in the area — produced 353,662 vehicles, particularly the F-Series Super Duty pickups. Ford remained fairly mum on its further plans with the plant, declining to give a timeline for the proposed expansion.
The plant was opened in 1969, Reuters said, and its production last year was a breath away from its maximum capacity of 365,000 units annually. The funds would finance an expansion to 420,000 annual units, 55,000 units more per year than the previous output ceiling. About 350 workers will join the 4,000 already employed at the plant.
While the F-150 will see a major overhaul for the 2015 model year — most significantly known for its use of aluminum over steel — the Super Duty trucks will only see moderate changes moving ahead for 2015.
Little, if anything, has been done to the truck’s outward appearance, but they will now have an improved towing rating with more power on tap from the 6.7 liter V8 turbo-diesel engine. The Super Duty trucks are slated for an overhaul later next year, and its expected that they too will make more use of aluminum, Reuters said.
Sales of the F-Series as a whole — Ford doesn’t distinguish from the Super Duty and otherwise – surged 18 percent year-on-year, to 763,402 vehicles. It was the best selling nameplate in the U.S. for 2013.
Reuters, quoting data from Automotive News, said that 272,521 units of the 353,662 produced in Louisville were Super Duties; 78,500 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs were also built on the site.