Ford cranks up its hiring to build more pickups

Seeking to capitalize on surging demand for its profitable F-150s, it's adding 2,000 workers to its Kansas City factory.

By Jonathan Berr May 2, 2013 10:48AM
File photo of a Ford Motor Co. employee attaching a wheel to a 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck on an assembly line at the company's Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan on Oct. 30, 2008 (© Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Ford Motor (F), the only U.S. automaker that didn't need a bailout, is adding more than 2,000 workers to its Kansas City, Mo., plant to capitalize on the surging demand for its F-150 pickup trucks, its most profitable model. That will almost double the facility's workforce, which currently stands at 2,450.

The Dearborn, Mich., company is adding a third shift in the current quarter to build the F-150, which has seen sales jump by 24% in April and 19% this year. Ford is also adding 1,100 more jobs in the fourth quarter ahead of next year's introduction of the all-new full-size Ford Transit line of vans. 

The company is spending $1.1 billion on retooling and expanding the Kansas City plant. As Bloomberg noted, the F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. of any type for more than three decades. Demand should continue to be robust as the housing market rebounds and contractors clamor for new pickups to replace their aging models.

Like other automakers, Ford is hoping that strength in the U.S. will offset weakness in other markets such as Europe, where it lost $462 million in the most recent quarter. Ford plans to close three plants there to try to stem its eurozone losses. On the plus side, Ford is three-quarters of the way to its goal of adding 12,000 hourly jobs in the U.S. by 2015 and is investing $16 billion in its plants.

Shares of Ford, which have risen more than 3% this year, were trading higher early Thursday in reaction to the hiring news.

General Motors (GM) today reported quarterly earnings that were better than expected. It saw a North American profit, excluding some costs, of $1.4 billion versus $1.6 billion in the year-ago period. Notably, its loss in Europe narrowed to $200 million from $300 million. 

Chrysler Group, the only U.S. automaker to gain market share last year, recently reported a 65% drop in first-quarter profit as costs rose because of new model launches. The company, which is controlled by Italy's Fiat (FIATY), backed its full-year financial outlook.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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May 2, 2013 3:50PM

Regal Boy ....not everyone works in their birkenstocks in an air conditioned office.

Some people rely on a Pick up truck for their work. What a pin head.

May 2, 2013 4:28PM
Regak Boy,, you just dont get it do you. Prior to the election of our new wonderful president gas was 1.85 a gallon, why did you vote him into office ?????
May 2, 2013 5:13PM

Hmmm... now watch the usual, extremist trolls say the same damn thing about Obama, as they always do: "Gov't Motors this, Obama that...!"

The same trolls refuse to believe the bailout helped Ford by keeping GM and Chrysler soluble-- so the auto parts suppliers, tire makers and the other related satellite auto industries-- would not have went under. Ford would've died, too!

It's amazing how the right-wingers will get on their mindless gerbil-wheel of "no common sense" talking points-- simply to hate Obama!

They're juvenile whine is still pathetic.

May 2, 2013 11:52AM

The same people buying gas guzzling pick-ups are the ones crying about gas

prices.Cry me a river.

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