DEARBORN (AP) – Ford will increase production of six models this year, half of them electric, as the company and the auto industry start to rebound from sluggish United States (US) sales in 2022.
The automaker announced on Friday that it plans to build more of the Mustang Mach-E, the Bronco Sport SUV and Maverick small pickup, the F-150 Lightning electric pickup, and the Transit and E-Transit gas and electric full-size vans.
To help increase production, Ford last year said it would add a third shift and 1,100 jobs at its full-size van plant in Claycomo, Missouri, near Kansas City, and another 3,200 jobs related to building the F-150 Lightning which is made in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford will also hire an unspecified number of new workers this year at plants in Cuautitlan and Hermosillo, Mexico, where the Mach-E, Maverick and Bronco Sport are made, according to spokesman Said Deep. Production line speeds will increase shortly to raise output, with more workers coming later, he said.
For more than two years, US auto sales have been depressed largely due to a shortage of computer chips during the coronavirus pandemic. But the chip shortage is easing and automakers like Ford are starting to increase production and build supplies on dealer lots.
Overall in the US, auto sales fell almost eight per cent last year to just under 14 million, with Ford’s dropping just over two per cent, according to Autodata Corp. But in February, overall industry sales rose 9.5 per cent over the same month a year ago, according to LMC Automotive, which sees sales increasing to 15 million this year.
Ford sales were up almost 22 per cent in February.
“The industry is on its track back,” said executive vice president of automotive for LMC and Global Data Jeff Schuster.
Shares of Ford closed on Friday up 4.2 per cent, getting a boost after the production announcement was made.
At crosstown rival General Motors, full-size pickup truck inventory rebounded enough that it will shut down a factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for two weeks starting March 27 to control it.