Demand for the best-selling truck is at an all-time high.
Ford has always been at the forefront of mass production, right from the early 1900s when Henry Ford developed the world's first truly mass-produced car in the form of the Model T. Ever since then, the American auto giant has been hard at work keeping up with its customer demands, even going so far as to drop regular cars to focus on what its customers want - trucks and SUVs. But with a new 14th-generation Ford F-150 pickup now officially in production, Ford has a new problem - the brand that pioneered mass production is struggling to keep up with demand. So Ford has ingeniously expanded the production process to the parking lots of its Flat Rock and Kansas City assembly plants, even fitting seatbelts outside the factory.
This is according to a report by the Detroit Free Press, and follows recent reports that Ford had started building and stockpiling the F-150 before all the final testing had been completed. It's a risky move, but Ford has doubled down on quality control to ensure that these preemptively manufactured trucks aren't faulty in any way. In an email to the publication, Kelli Felker, Ford's global manufacturing and labor communications manager said that as part of the brand's commitment to delivering high-quality vehicles, they "are conducting final quality inspections on trucks built before dealer shipments started last month to ensure they meet the quality expectations of our customers."
It's not just final checks that are happening outside the factory though, as seatbelts are installed and final electronic and software checks are conducted there, freeing up space inside the factory for more labor-intensive manufacturing. These early production vehicles aren't the first trucks to be hitting the market, but are instead making up for the extra demand and are only now being checked and shipped.
They are already on showroom floors, but according to recent reports, they don't stay there long, with many F-150's leaving dealerships within hours of their arrival.