Little more than a week after Ford Motor Company executives admitted that the automaker wasn’t meeting higher-than-expected demand for the all-new, 2018 Lincoln Navigator, Ford has announced a new, $25-million investment into its Kentucky Truck Plant to speed up production of the Navigator, as well as the mechanically-similar Ford Expedition – also all-new for 2018. The move will bring Ford’s total investment at the plant up to $925 million since last year, and ought to help Ford kick production speed up a notch at the plant.
Kentucky Truck Plant is already a haven of efficient, advanced manufacturing techniques. Last year’s transformation of the plant saw it add 400 new automatons, mainly in the body shop; a data analytics hub that provides plant officials with minute-by-minute updates of important production metrics like parts inventory; and a 3D printer that allows engineers to easily print individual tool parts to help keep the plant running.
Customer response to the all-new, 2018 Lincoln Navigator has been overwhelmingly positive. According to Ford, newly-shipped examples of the premium SUV spend an average of just seven days on the lot before being sold, and many customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes SUVs to get them. Transaction prices in January, 2018 were up by about $21k versus the same month last year, as nearly 85 percent of all 2018 Lincoln Navigator buyers have opted for the high-spec Reserve or Black Label trim levels.
Last month, Ford recorded Lincoln Navigator sales that were up 97.5% over January, 2017, even while overall Lincoln brand sales declined.
“The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” says Ford President of Global Operations Joe Hinrichs. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.”