Shares of Ford Motor Co. (F) increased 0.5% to $15.50 before closing at $15.15 on Dec 23, 2013 post media reports about the expected launch of a new aluminum F-Series truck. Ford plans to release the new F-150 pickup at the Detroit Auto Show in Jan 2014, according to Bloomberg.
The redesigned pickup will be lighter than the current top-selling F-150 truck. It is expected to provide 30 mpg on the highway, a step up from 23 mpg offered by the F-150 model of 2014. Moreover, this mileage will support Ford in complying with the new U.S. fuel economy standards of 54.5 mpg for all vehicles by 2025.
According to the report, Alcoa Inc. (AA), the manufacturer of blast shields for battlefield-bound vehicles, will supply military-grade metal for making the prototype of the aluminum F-150 pickup. However, Ford is likely to face challenges during this transfer from steel to aluminum. The automaker may even have to close its truck factories for six weeks for this transmission.
Ford produces F-150 pickups in two factories one near Michigan and the other in Claycomo, Mo. The larger F-250 to F-550 truck series are assembled in Louisville, Ky.
Ford expects full-year pre-tax profit, excluding special items, to increase to $8.5 billion, from $8 billion recorded in 2012. The higher profit projection is based on continuous investment for growth in the One Ford plan.
Ford also predicts 2013 automotive revenues to escalate 10% on the back of expected gains in market share in all regions except Europe. Meanwhile, the automaker is focusing on the transformation plan in Europe and restructuring in Australia for better results in future.
Ford is one of the largest automobile producers in the world along with General Motors Company (GM) and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC). Currently, Ford has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).