The Sooner Ford Gets Up to Full Speed with 2015 F-150 Production, the Better

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The Ford F-150 is so popular that the automaker has two factories – one in Dearborn and one in Kansas City – cranking it out. The problem is that neither one of them is up to full speed.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said dealers may not have full inventories of the aluminum half-ton until “mid-to-late summer.” The two truck plants won’t be going full-tilt until later this spring. Fortunately, the F-150s dealerships do have only stay on lots for an average of 18 days, as opposed to the 50-60 day span that’s typical for pickups.

Ford’s concentrating on retail sales, which are more profitable because private owners tend to like their trucks loaded. Fleet customers are usually more frugal and concerned about bottom lines than massaging seats (if you haven’t felt them in action in the 2015 F-150 King Ranch or Platinum, you owe that experience to yourself). As a result of its focus, the Blue Oval’s March retail sales went up 10 percent year-over-year.

On the other hand, Ford only enjoyed a 2.3-percent overall rise in F-Series (F-150 and Super Duty) sales during the first quarter of this year. Chevrolet Silverado sales rose 17.6 percent over the same period.

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Even though commercial clients aren’t as lucrative as retail buyers, they’re still hugely important to truckmakers. Municipalities, construction firms, mining companies – some of them buy dozens or even hundreds of trucks at once.

General Motors is aware of that and it’s taking advantage of Ford’s production situation by going after commercial-fleet customers. Deliveries of GM’s full-size workhorses, the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, shot up 41 percent last month.

Those are the numbers, but I’d like to know how this problem is manifesting itself on a personal level. Do any of you own or work for a business that wanted to buy Ford fleet vehicles but couldn’t enough of them? If so, on which truck brand did you or your employer decide?

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

via [The Motley Fool]

Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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