Ford begins assembling its 2015 F-150 units for sale next month
Ford Motors began plucking the first 2015 F-150 pickup trucks fresh from the assembly line at the Americana automaker’s Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday. These aluminum-bodied workhorses will be hitting dealers next month, according to USA Today, and you can expect everyone – Ford, potential owners, competitors, repair shops, and financial analysts – to be watching the early returns for the pickup extra closely.
“We’re here today to make history,” Ford Motors chairman Bill Ford exclaimed from the company’s manufacturing plant in Dearborn, as quoted by UPI. “This is as big as it gets at Ford Motors,” echoed president and CEO Mark Fields. “It underscores the product excellence and innovation we are delivering in every part of our business as we accelerate our pace of progress toward profitable growth.”
Ever since the plant’s 4,000 employees finished assembling their final steel F-150 in August, the automaker took four weeks to retool and hired 850 more employees. When the plant reopened, it was a full-scale aluminum operations including stamping lines for four grades of aluminum alloy, hydroforming setups using high-pressure oil to shape structural support rails, a prep area for adhesives, ovens for hardening the metal, and hundreds of assisting robots.
“This is probably the biggest leap of faith with the Ford F-series ever,” evaluated Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book. “This is a giant leap because they have changed the vehicle very significantly in terms of construction. When you go from an all steel body to an aluminum alloy body, it is a big, big change.”