SUVs

Ford boosting Expedition, Navigator production by 20 percent

This move should add 550 jobs at the Kentucky facility where the two are built.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

No matter the size or average transaction price, it sure does seem that Americans can't get enough SUVs, and Ford is more than happy to supply 'em, even if it means ramping up production.

Ford announced on Tuesday that it intends to ramp up production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigation by 20 percent this summer. It's expanding throughput at its Kentucky Truck Plant outside Louisville in order to meet "surging" customer demand for the two recently revised SUVs. Kentucky is also responsible for Ford's heavy-duty trucks.

In order to boost production, Ford said it's increased the line speed at the Kentucky Truck Plant. It did so by adding stations and splitting up tasks that, normally, could not be completed in the usual cycle time. It also added "pits and platforms" to improve working in areas with "varying height requirements."

These adjustments will create about 550 jobs, Ford said. It will also move over a similar number of employees from Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC. The production rate is scheduled to ramp up in July, after the plant's summer shutdown.

Sales numbers for both large SUVs are sitting pretty. Ford said in its release that the Expedition's sales jumped 35 percent last year, swallowing up another 5.6 percent of market share, with average transaction prices rising $11,700 to $62,700. At the same time, Navigator sales in 2018 were up some 70 percent compared to 2017, making its best single-year sales in over a decade.