Ford’s Lightweight F-150 Truck Is on Track, Hinrichs Says

Ford Motor Co.’s new aluminum-bodied F-150 truck remains on track for its introduction later this year even as a Morgan Stanley says the changeover to making the lightweight truck may be difficult.

Ford is retooling two factories to make the pickup, part of a plan this year to add 16 new models in North America. The company says its new F-150 is about 700 pounds (318 kilograms) lighter than the steel version it will replace.

“Everything is on schedule and everything is going as planned” with the F-150 introduction, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, told reporters today in Dearborn, Michigan. “I’m very confident in this vehicle,” he said.

The company had previously said that it would lose production of more than 90,000 of its F-Series pickups, its best-selling and most profitable model, as it retools factories for the new aluminum-bodied truck.

The series of plant shutdowns will reduce the company’s sales, market share and profits in the lucrative pickup truck market, Hinrichs said earlier this month.

“We see scope for near-term negative surprise with the changeover,” Ravi Shanker, a Morgan Stanley analyst wrote in a note today. “Expect a slow changeover, with tight supply.”

The company may also see lower margins on the new truck versus the old model, he wrote.

Ford rose 0.5 percent to $16.97 at the close in New York.