DEARBORN, Michigan — In order to cope with increasing demand for the all-new 2015 Ford F-150, Ford is training thousands of workers at its Kansas City Assembly plant, in addition to those already building the aluminum-bodied pickup at the company's Dearborn Truck plant.
Production of the 2015 F-150 began at the Dearborn facility in December 2014, and Ford says it expects to start production in Kansas City by the end of the first quarter of this year.
Combined, the two plants will have the capacity to produce more than 700,000 F-150 pickups per year for availability in 90 markets globally.
Ford says the specialized training, for both skilled and production workers, is needed to support the unique manufacturing process that was developed for the new aluminum-bodied F-150.
In order to prepare for the advanced materials, forming and joining technology and cutting-edge electronics, workers have undergone more than 400 hours of classroom and hands-on training.
"Our workers now are able to deal with the latest in automotive manufacturing technology and, as a result, keep production on schedule to deliver best-in-class, quality trucks to our customers," said Aris Janitens, Ford launch planning and workforce readiness manager, in a statement.
Ford's truck plants needed to be updated to handle the 2015 F-150 as well. The transformation included new press and hydroforming lines; new paint, chemical and heat-treating areas; the latest robotics; and a state-of-the-art aluminum recycling system to deal with the volume of the material used in the pickup's body panels.
As previously reported by Edmunds, the new F-150's aluminum bodywork also required a unique collision-repair training program and facility upgrades for Ford dealers and body shops. Ford subsidized 20 percent of the approximately $10,000 worth of training and equipment required at each location.
The use of aluminum body panels reduces the vehicle's weight by 700 pounds and helps it achieve EPAfuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway when equipped with the available 325-horsepower 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is on sale now at Ford dealerships.
Edmunds says: With the beefed-up workforce and additional capacity, consumers should have no trouble getting their hands on a 2015 Ford F-150.