NORFOLK, Va. - Running counter to industry productivity trends, Ford Motor Co.'s next-generation F-150 pickup will require more hours to build than its predecessor.
But the expected increase is small - within one hour of the 23 hours per vehicle needed for the current F-150 - and the slide in assembly productivity was the right trade-off to make for gains in content and logistical efficiency, Ford executives say. All pickups, even standard cab models, will have four doors, plus the truck is longer. That adds complexity and labor time to the build process.
Ford also bucked the industry outsourcing trend and brought two subassemblies back inside the assembly plant.
Production of the redesigned 2004 F-150 began last week at the assembly plant here. The truck will be launched at a plant in Kansas City, Mo., in mid-July, and at the Dearborn, Mich., Rouge complex next spring.