Ford's Kansas City Assembly has officially been shut down for retooling.
Say, have you heard? There's an all-new Ford F-150 in town, and if current trends continue, it will be not just the best-selling truck in the US, but the best selling vehicle. Period. That's a title the Ford F-Series has held since 1981, it shows no signs of slowing down, moving roughly 900k units in each of the last three calendar years.
On Tuesday, Ford marked the start of a scheduled shutdown for retooling at its largest US assembly plant by volume, Kansas City Assembly, to support production of the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 there. Production is already underway at the F-150's second home: the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, meaning the previous-generation F-150 is officially finished.
The 7,250 employees and hourly workers at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant also build the Transit commercial van. Yet of the two, the F-Series is far and away the more consequential, contributing nearly $49 billion to the US GDP each year, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group. Granted, that's including the contributions of the F-Series Super Duty, but it's an impressive feat all the same.
Here's an even more mind-numbing statistic: of the more-than-2-million full-size pickups assembled in the US in 2019, Ford was responsible for roughly half - twice as many as its closest competitor.
The end of 2020 Ford F-150 production marks the end of the rugged F-150 Raptor for the time being, as the new 2021 model launches without a direct replacement. A brand new Raptor is expected to bow within the next year or two, and it's rumored that the truck will offer not one, but two potent powerplant options: an EcoBoost V6 bolstered by a hybrid system, and a supercharged 5.2L V8 borrowed straight from the indomitable Shelby GT500 Mustang.
But even without the Raptor, the all-new F-150 has something its domestic rivals don't: hybrid power. The truck's "PowerBoost" hybrid powertrain pairs a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with a 1.5-kWh battery pack and a 35-kW electric motor built into the ten-speed automatic trans, for a total output of 430 horsepower and a whopping 570 lb-ft of torque. Ford anticipates an EPA fuel economy rating of around 23 mpg combined, and while that may not sound like a lot, that's 4 mpg better than the outgoing F-150 with the same engine.