Aluminum Ford F-150 remains on track, Hinrichs says

Hinrichs, speaking on preparations for the next-generation Ford F-150: “Everything is on schedule and everything is going as planned.”

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- In response to Morgan Stanley’s concerns about potential delays, Ford Americas chief Joe Hinrichs said the new aluminum-bodied F-150 truck remains on track for its introduction later this year.

Ford is retooling two factories to make the pickup, part of a plan this year to add 16 new models in North America. The company says its new F-150 is about 700 pounds lighter than the steel version it will replace.

“Everything is on schedule and everything is going as planned” with the F-150 introduction, Hinrichs told reporters today at the automaker’s headquarters. “I’m very confident in this vehicle,” he said.

The company had previously said that it would lose production of more than 90,000 of its F-Series pickups, its best-selling and most profitable model, as it retools factories for the new aluminum-bodied truck.

The series of plant shutdowns will reduce the company’s sales, market share and profits in the lucrative pickup truck market, Hinrichs said earlier this month.

“We see scope for near-term negative surprise with the changeover,” Ravi Shanker, a Morgan Stanley analyst wrote in a note today. “Expect a slow changeover, with tight supply.”

The company may also see lower margins on the new truck versus the old model, he wrote.