Ford Motor Co. said it is scheduling “massive overtime” at a factory in suburban Detroit to meet strong demand for its new Ranger midsize pickup truck, a stark contrast to the cuts to production of traditional sedans U.S. automakers have been making.
Ford is about to boost production of the Ranger, which went on sale this month and already has expressions of interest from 300,000 online shoppers, Kumar Galhotra, president of North American operations, told reporters in Detroit Wednesday. After about two weeks on dealer lots, Ford has sold about 1,200 of the trucks it brought back after an eight-year absence from the U.S. market.
“The demand is going to be so strong, that starting in February, just in a few days, our Wayne Assembly plant where this product is made will be going into massive overtime,” Galhotra said. “That is fantastic news.”
Last year, Ford ceased production of the Focus compact at the factory where it now makes the Ranger. Ford and General Motors Co. are slashing production of sedans and small cars, as automakers struggle with the collapse of demand for the traditional family car that has left them with excess factory capacity to make 3 million of those unwanted models. At the same time, they are boosting production of trucks and sport-utility vehicles to meet booming demand.
Galhotra said Ford is now putting 90% of its capital expenditure into producing trucks and SUVs. He didn’t provide further details on the planned production increase for the Ranger.
By Keith Naughton