As the demand for Ford’s redesigned full-size SUVs surges, the automaker announced that it was expanding the production of it Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The Detroit based automaker is increasing the production of both SUVs by 25%, with both models being manufactured at Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky truck plant.
The response from customers for the company’s new full-size SUVs has been excellent, said Ford’s Joe Hinrichs the global operations president. In January, Navigator sales soared by 88.6% showed data from an online research firm.
In particular the automaker is finding exceptional demand for its most expensive version of the two vehicles. The average prices of a sales transaction for its Navigator increased by $21,000 during January, while the average price for its new Expedition was up by $7,800 for the same period, said the automaker.
Earlier in February, the vice president for U.S. marketing and sales at Ford Mark LaNeve said the company could not make enough Lincoln Navigators. Ford said on average a Navigator was in a dealer’s showroom for just seven days in January, which is much shorter than industry averages.
The increased demand is welcome news for the automaker, which has faced increased criticism from investors and analysts for its slowness in developing mobility services as well as solutions. Rival General Motors has already outlined its game plan for the establishing of its ride-hailing program with autonomous vehicles beginning in 2019, but the plans of Ford trail in development.
Under Mark Fields, the former CEO, the automaker announced it would be rolling out its own self-driving auto without a steering wheel in 2021. Current CEO at Ford Jim Hackett, since replacing Fields last May, has pushed to move the company faster in its development of autonomous driving vehicles.
As the automaker continues to work reassuring analysts over its future, it is leaning on its SUV and pickup lineups for stronger and more profitable sales. In 2017, sales of the F-Series pickup for Ford were up by 9.6%, while the sales for its SUVs were up just 2.9%.
Interest in SUVs and larger vehicles has steadily increased over the last two to three years following the huge drop in the price of oil because of the worldwide glut thanks in a big part to the increase in oil production by U.S. shale drilling companies.