Ford to further boost SUV production

Ford to further boost SUV production

by Byron Hurd

The Blue Oval is looking to top GM, boost profits.

Ford is looking to improve its margins and give GM a run for its money with a boost to production of its larger SUVs, the company announced Monday.

The Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be the beneficiaries of the production increase, and Ford hopes the boost (targets will go up by 25%, Reuters reports), will take the fight to GM's Suburban and Yukon nameplates.

Global Operations President Joe Hinrichs made the announcement after touring Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant. During the tour, he told local reporters that Ford can sell "[...] every single vehicle [...]" the plant produces.

Big SUVs are not only popular; they're profitable. "These are high-margin vehicles," Hinrichs said. Data provided to Reuters by Ford indicates that transaction prices for Navigator alone have climbed 38% over the past year--a boon for margin.

Ford is matching those new production targets with a fresh marketing onslaught. Last Thursday, the company announced that it would begin ramping up support for both the new Expedition and the subcompact EcoSport--a recent transplant from its European operations.

While the EcoSport may not do much for Ford's profit push, it will serve to increase volume by providing dealers with a new entry in a rapidly growing segment of baby crossovers--a class where Ford has lacked an entry until now.

Ford began selling the EcoSport in January, with deliveries expected to increase significantly as advertising drives buyers to showrooms.