LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ford and Lincoln dealers can't get enough of their biggest, most expensive SUVs to keep up with customer demand, which is a pretty good problem to have. But it's a problem nonetheless, one that Ford Motor Co. is addressing with a $25 million investment to speed up the assembly line here.
The automaker planned to announce the upgrade to its Kentucky Truck Plant on Monday, Feb. 12. The investment, on top of $900 million already spent on the plant to launch the 2018 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, will allow Ford to build 25 percent more of the SUVs this year than originally planned.
"It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets, told reporters here. "In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for."
Retail sales of the vehicles skyrocketed in January, up 59 percent for the Expedition and 132 percent for the Navigator. (Ford attributed a 15 percent decline in total Expedition sales to the timing of fleet orders.)
The highly profitable SUVs are turning on dealer lots almost as fast as they can be unloaded from delivery trucks.
It had been a decade since the Navigator was fully redesigned, and 20 years since the Expedition got a thorough overhaul.