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As Ford Overhauls Production Plants For 2021 F-150, Profits Dip For October

Ford announces they will return to monthly reporting of financials. Ford’s U.S. sales dipped 6.1% for October, due in part to retooling the truck plants in preparation for the 2021 F-150. Some features like spray in bedliner and fold-flat work surface still causing production delays.


Lost amongst the other news of the week (something about an election?) along with other news out of Dearborn, came some interesting financial news.

Ford is returning to publishing monthly sales reports, a procedure they abandoned in 2018. This is a good move, in my opinion, especially since Ford has a new CEO. Jim Farley has many challenges ahead of him.

First, there’s Ford stock value, which continues to putter around $7-$8. During the monthly reporting for October, Ford revealed a drop of 6.1% in U.S. sales. Some of this is not surprising as it’s model year turnover and Ford is retooling factories to begin production on the 2021 Ford F-150. So the drop is not so much a sign of doom for the Blue Oval as something that was almost expected.

Still October sales revealed that Ford sold 181,820 vehicles (this excludes heavy vehicle and commercial sales). In September that number was higher with 193,571 units sold. When news of the October earnings hit, Ford’s stock dropped 1.7% to $7.75.

Ford CEO Jim Farley

This follows my report of Ford having a bounce back third quarter, led forward by strong F-150 sales. October F-150 sales dipped by 4% to 71,593 units. According to a report from the financial website Bloomberg, Chief Financial Officer John Lawler told investors last month Ford would lose 100,000 unit sales of the F-150 in the fourth quarter as it converts a factory near Kansas City to produce the redesigned model.

I’m sure financially Farley and Lawler (that sounds like a law firm name) were prepared for this. Retooling assembly lines is costly. But surely it will pay off as demand is high for the 14th-generation F-150.

Fold flat work surface in 2021 Ford F-150OK To Build Date For 2021 Ford F-150
As I reported the OKTB (ok to build) date for some 2021 Ford F-150s were on schedule while other orders were being delayed. Those delays included orders that included the fold-flat work surface.

This simple mechanism, that includes hideaway gear shift seems to be giving early production fits or perhaps there’s a parts delay. Ford would not comment about the cause for the delay.

A recent report from the forum shows that the OKTB date has not improved for anyone who ordered the work space with any engine other than the new PowerBoost hybrid. That appears to be on schedule, unless you have a spray-in bed liner.

For me, that feature is not worth delaying a delivery. I’d cancel that aspect if I were a buyer as there are many aftermarket companies that can add a liner to a truck bed.

I had previously reported that the OKTB was delayed for any customers who ordered the fold-flat seats. This is my favorite feature on the new F-150. It appears as though that delay was temporary as the leaked info at shows that feature now on schedule. That’s a good thing.

Max Recline seats in 2021 Ford F-150

Look, production delays especially on the first year of a new generation can be difficult. And the aforementioned profit hit was likely due to all this preparation. It’s a big, big task to build and assemble pickup trucks.

Ford has been the best at this for many decades, so this isn’t anything to be concerned about or to worry about. The real question I have is, will you just wait until the 2021 F-150 shows up on your local car lot? That seems to be the way most people buy vehicles still, although with Covid protocols, I can see people ordering their custom-built F-150 online and waiting to be notified that it was complete.

There is something gratifying about that. It’s almost like building a custom-built home instead of buying what's on the market.

Where do you stand on this? Are you ordering one made how you want it, or will you just pick whatever is on the dealer’s lot? Leave me your comment below.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


Dennis (not verified)    December 3, 2020 - 9:00AM

I have submitted a order for a F150 Hybrid with the options that I want. Still waiting for a acceptance from the factory.

Pete (not verified)    December 18, 2020 - 5:05PM

I ordered a regular cab 3.5 f-150 the first week the order bank opened( aug/sep)
and still no sign of a build. dealer now says maybe in January.