Jan. 30--Ford is investing $80 million and adding 350 jobs to the almost 4,000 at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville because it can't make enough F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks.
The moves will enable Ford to increase production by about 15% or 55,000 more of the profitable trucks a year.
With housing and construction starts up as the economy improves, demand for heavy-duty trucks continues to increase.
Ford sold 750,000 F-Series in 2013, and the sales pace picked up at the end of the year with more than 70,000 trucks sold in December after eight straight months of sales above 60,000 vehicles.
To meet that demand, the upgrades at Kentucky Truck include tooling and more automation in the body and paint shops.
Ford has already hired additional employees who will start training over the next two months. All will be in place by April 1, said Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski. They are among the 5,000 employees Ford is adding in North America and 11,000 worldwide to launch 23 new vehicles and increase capacity worldwide.
"Customer demand for F-Series Super Duty trucks is growing substantially, and F-Series overall is America's best-selling truck for 37 years running," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, in a statement.
Ford introduced the F-Series Super Duty in 1999 and the Kentucky plant is expected to build the 5-millionth truck this year. The plant makes the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 Super Duty pickups, as well as Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
"We are happy to be adding new jobs at Kentucky Truck Plant, because we know the impact these jobs will have on the local community," said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president of the Ford Department. "It's especially rewarding to know these jobs come as a result of customer demand."
Ford has been building vehicles in Kentucky since 1913 when it started with 11 employees. The Kentucky Truck Plant opened in 1969 and has grown to 6 million square feet.
"This is a great day to be both 'Ford Tough' and a Kentuckian," said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. "For more than a century, Ford has created quality vehicles and quality jobs in the commonwealth of Kentucky. I'm looking forward to seeing even more Kentucky-made Ford F-Series pickups on the roads, and more Kentuckians back to work as a result of this investment."
Most of the 2015 Super Duty lineup goes on sale this spring with the second-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel with a larger turbocharger and other improvements to enhance torque, horsepower and towing capacity. The F-450 pickup truck goes on sale this summer.
"F-Series continues to dominate the segment, widening the gap between Ford and key competitors," said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager.
Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle
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Original headline: Ford adding 350 jobs in Kentucky for more F-Series Super Duty pickups
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