Ford began producing the F-650 and F-750 at its assembly plant near Cleveland a year ago after the company spent $168 million converting the factory from building Econoline vans. They previously had been produced in Mexico in a joint venture with Navistar International Corp. known as Blue Diamond Trucking Co., which disbanded in 2014. The auto maker now builds its full-size van, known as the Transit, at an assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based vehicle maker is focusing on building high-margin trucks, vans and SUVs in the U.S., where labor costs are more expensive than in Mexico. Ford derives most of its profit from its F-series truck line, Morgan Stanley has said. And the largest vehicles in the line generate the biggest return, according to analysts. By going it alone in the big-truck market, Ford no longer has to share profits with Navistar.
After parting with Navistar, Ford redesigned the F-650 and F-750 to offer them in a variety of body styles and with either gasoline or diesel engines. General Motors Co. exited that segment of the truck market following its 2009 government-backed bankruptcy.
“We're seeing growing interest in the new tractor from beverage and hauling fleets,” Kevin Koester, Ford's marketing manager for the models, said in a statement. “Towing and rental customers have embraced the gas engine.”
This Bloomberg News report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.