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's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

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