According to a report in the Detroit News, Ford is taking special measures to ensure a quality launch for the redesigned F-150 pickup line.
The newspaper said that the F-series full-size pickup is the best-selling vehicle in the United States and the new version is crucial to Ford’s hopes of becoming profitable after heavy losses in 2001 and 2002.
The Detroit News said Ford spent $1.8 billion developing and engineering the new F-150 and production versions are now rolling off the assembly line in Norfolk, Virginia. A Kansas City, Missouri plant will begin output of the new F-150 later this month while the new truck plant at Ford's Rouge Center in Dearborn starts production next year, the paper added.
With the new F-150 scheduled to begin reaching United States showrooms later this summer, Ford is taking steps to avoid recalls and quality problems, the Detroit News said.
"It's all about execution," the newspaper cited Ford executive vice president Jim Padilla as writing in a recent internal memo to employees. "And it's about launching the new F-150 with high quality," he reportedly added.
According to the Detroit News the memo also said that Ford put the new F-150 pickup through the equivalent of more than five million miles of cumulative testing and built a large number of prototype versions to allow for the additional testing.
"The F-150 is going to be a key, key, key launch for [Ford]," Jim Sourges, vice president of the automotive consulting group at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, told the Detroit News.
"They are going to have to execute pretty well. It won't be easy. For them, that's bread and butter," Sourges reportedly added.
The Detroit News also said noted that Ford is keeping launch teams in place at the Norfolk and Kansas City assembly plants until the end of the year, rather than pulling them out shortly after production starts.
"The launch of the F-150 is absolutely critical, and we plan to execute it flawlessly," Ford president Nick Scheele said recently, according to the Detroit News.