The Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) will be adding more than 1,000 workers to its assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo., where the popular F-150 pickup is built, the automaker said. The hiring spree responds to greater demand for the Michigan-based auto manufacturer’s F-Series trucks.
"We are going to step up operations at Kansas City to ensure we have enough trucks to meet customer demand," Ford's Americas President Joe Hinrichs said.
Ford has sold 228,000 F-series pickups through April in the U.S., which puts the company on pace for more than 700,000 sales this year.
As Ford is set to hire 900 workers for the F-Series shift, the second-largest U.S.-based automaker is renovating another part of the plant outside of Kansas City, Mo., to make a new full-size Transit cargo van, which will require an additional 1,100 workers. The investment in the facilities will top $1.1 billion.
While numbers released earlier this week indicate the slowing of U.S. auto sales, new home construction has reportedly helped boost pickup truck sales for Ford and its U.S. rivals, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Chrysler Group LLC, which all posted greater than 20 percent increases in truck sales in April.
"The truck segment is growing three times faster than the overall industry," Hinrichs said. "The housing market is strengthening; we are seeing growth in the U.S. economy."
F-Series sales are up 19.1 percent this year, while total auto sales in the U.S. have increased 6.9 percent, according to Ford.
After Ford adds the third shift of workers at its Missouri plant, it will have two final assembly plants running at close to max capacity as they build F-Series trucks at a plant in Dearborn, Mich.
Analysts estimate the variable profit margin on pickups, excluding development costs, is as much as $10,000, compared with around $1,000 for sedans and smaller cars.