By on March 10, 2014

2015 Ford F-650

With the Econoline passing the torch to the Transit Connect at the end of this year, Ford is in the process of moving production of the F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio in time for the medium-duty trucks’ redesign for 2015.

Bloomberg reports the automaker is cutting ties with Navistar International in a joint venture based in Escobedo, Mexico to take full control of the two medium-duty trucks in their transfer to Avon Lake, Ohio, bringing the entire F-Series line — and the profits made up and down the chain — in-house as Ford’s president of the Americas Joe Hinrichs explains:

We’re doing this to bring the 650-750 production in-house so that we have complete design, manufacturing and engineering control over our F-series lineup. It’s so critical to be able to offer our commercial customers everything from an F-150 all the way to an F-750 and to know it’s built by Ford.

The relocation will preserve 1,600 jobs while honoring an agreement made between Ford and the United Auto Workers in 2011, with no added jobs or change in labor costs resulting from the move.

Hinrichs expects it will take less than the 13 weeks needed to transition the two F-150 plants from steel to aluminium-body production, with tooling from the Mexico plant already being put into place:

A lot of equipment has been going in on the fly. It’s not what we would classify as a new body shop, but the investment that’s being made largely is for equipment in the body shop and for tooling associated with building the 650 and 750.

The transition will occur in time for the F-650’s and F-750’s 2015 redesign, though the medium-duty trucks will remain steel-bodied.

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23 Comments on “Ford Medium-Duty Truck Production Moving To Ohio In 2015...”

  • avatar

    Econoline is NOT being replaced by the Transit Connect, it’s being replaced by the Transit. The two are very different vehicles!

  • avatar

    So are they going to make conversion vans by Choo-Choo or Gladiatior or etc. out of the big Transit?

    If not, sounds like GM will have the floor to itself for that niche burled market.

  • avatar

    I thought this was news 2 years ago. It could be that it was so well known within Ford that I just assumed it had been released publicly. Anyway, good on them, Blue Diamond sucked.

    Edit: I guess it was news 2 years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes this is very old news. The Blue Diamond Joint venture was for a set time at which point either party could walk away or they could sit down and renegotiate a new contract. Ford announced years ago that they intended to walk away from the deal, I’m sure in part due to the 6.0 fiasco and the failure of the Citystar/LCF series that was also a part of the Blue Diamond Joint Venture.

  • avatar

    Seems like pure madness to replace the econoline, the number one selling vehicle in its category, with a design that has repeatedly failed to interest American consumers.

    That’s a lot of business being handed over to GM, don’t forget about the 80% of ambulances using the econoline chassis.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it makes sense to at least keep the E-250+ models around because they aren’t subject to CAFE. The tooling is long sense paid for and the engines are dirt cheap to make.

    • 0 avatar

      CAFE, bro. The heavier duty applications can be absorbed by the Super Duty (many already are).

      It makes more sense to transplant the Transit rather than redesign the E-vans to accomodate the newer powertrains and maybe, just maybe, a decent front suspension.

    • 0 avatar

      I would have been of the same mindset, until I drove a Sprinter. The Sprinter has been part of our fleet since ’06 and there is no way I’d consider either a GM van or an E-series. Sprinters (and the new Transit) offers numerous benefits in practicality.

      • 0 avatar

        What is your main use of the vehicle, if you don’t mind me asking?

        While I’m sure the sprinter may be lightyears better at simply moving cargo; though the ability to tow, cost of parts, and general simplicity of the econoline makes more sense business wise for fleet purchases (at least from what I’ve seen with local businesses)

        • 0 avatar

          Both passenger and cargo use. The cave-like interior is ideal for both uses. It is funny that you mention towing…a former co-worker of mine replaced his diesel E350 with a high roof Sprinter 3500 since he can get every bit as much freight in the Sprinter as he could with the E350 and a trailer.

    • 0 avatar

      It might cost Ford some market share in the short term, but I seriously doubt that profit margins are very high on the E-Series. They sell a bunch, but the pricing is the primary reason people by them. In edition to CAFE, a new model will allow Ford to offer better features (covered in articles on this site) and charge a more premium price. GM might pick up some sales from the “older is better” crowd, but this could cause even further downward pressure on GM’s prices, and eventually they are going to have to upgrade as well.

      The tooling might be paid for, but that doesn’t mean it lasts forever.

      • 0 avatar

        The chassis has been around since the 70s, every auto part store in America has parts for them. You can’t use the features argument because their not bought for features, they are tools, no more no less. A more premium cost means less buyers. These aren’t bought by the users in many cases. Cost is the determining factor, the cost to fix major components on this is a very big reason to purchase this over an expensive problem ridden European chassis, or worse, an emissions strangled diesel that will inevitably break down.

        • 0 avatar

          Like the Ranger, if it were practical for Ford to keep pumping out Econolines as they had been for decades, they would. But numerous forces affecting the market have forced them to use one global product to fill that niche instead of investing heavily in bringing the E vans up to snuff. Yeah, it will suck for some fleets, just like the end of the Crown Vic, but life goes on.

          The GM vans won’t stick around forever as-is either. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in this segment.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Problem ridden European chassis?

          The Transit has been one of the most successful van platforms for Ford.

          Towing? You guys always bring in towing when a product appears to be competitive. I’ve seen some of your vans tow the largest trailer I’ve seen is a tandem that would carry only 4 000lbs.

          I think you overstate towing. You buy a van for access to the back of the van, why would you then restrict that access with a trailer?

          Can you provide me a link to show that the new Transit will be problem ridden.

          Really, you just don’t know what you are talking about here.

          As you stated the US vehicles are antiques. Why not modernise and the European platforms are doing what a US vehicle can do at a fraction of the cost.

          Business is driven by overheads. You obviously aren’t a business person.

          • 0 avatar

            Unless the fraction you are talking about is one like 5/4 the Sprinter has shown that a Euro platform does not do the job at a fraction of the cost.

            A company I used to work for fell for the Dodge dealers lies hook line and sinker and purchased a large number of Sprinters when they were relatively new. The sales pitch was sure they cost $10K more but they will save you x gallons per year multiplied by the miles you do and the price per gallon (of gasoline) means that you will save $10K in fuel over the expected 10 year life of the vehicle. When you factored in the real world MPG and the real world difference in the price of diesel vs regular gas that number dropped to a savings of $2000 in fuel over the life of the vehicle. The bigger issue was the maintenance and repair cost. The Sprinter brakes need replacement at 1/3 to 1/4 the mileage of those of the Chevy or Ford and cost about twice as much to replace since the rotors must be replaced with every pad change. The cost of an oil change was double since they required more of a synthetic oil that met the Mercedes standard. The OE tires were shot by the end of the first year and even top quality replacements only last about 50% as long as they would on a Ford or Chevy. Then there are all of the little things that add up like unique light bulbs only available at your Dodge or Mercedes dealer, at least initially that cost 2, 3, 4 times the cost of the bulbs available from aftermarket suppliers and the fact that they constantly burnt out. How about a $600 alternator that needs to be replaced twice as frequently as the $150 Ford or GM alternator. Or maybe the fuel filter that needs replacement at the tune of $200 per year instead of $50 after 5-7 years.

            Which is why almost all business that tried Sprinters in the first round didn’t purchase more of them.

            Of course we will have to see just how the Transit fares after a couple of years in US service, but I’m betting it will have a higher total cost of ownership compared to the Econoline.

        • 0 avatar

          Sorry but the current Econoline does not share a chassis with its predecessor despite the fact that it does share the same basic architecture. Things that interchange between the 75-91 and the 92-14

          Brake shoes, wheel cylinders and brake shoe hardware on 250 and 350 models before 2005. Differential parts on 150s from the mid 80’s and up and 250/350 models Wheels on 250/350 models and U-joints on certain years/models.

    • 0 avatar

      Other than the somewhat overpriced Sprinter, what other choice has their been in the big van market? Assuming the Transit is not wildly more expensive, I see nothing about it that is not better than the existing pretty awful big Ford Van. The 15 passenger versions of the things are downright dangerous. Better to work out of, better dynamics, hold more cargo, etc. The number of Vans I have ever seen towing anything heavier than bicycle or Kayak trailers is about nil.

      But certainly GM will get the CHEAP business, if they too, don’t bring over whatever they sell as a van in the rest of the world.

      And as an additional anecdote – I have a friend in the metal recycling business with a small fleet of Sprinters that get used like whipped mules and he loves them. Ditto my cousins in the greenhouse business. They are absolutely worth the money over the dreadful American pickup-based vans, especially if you are in a business where you actually have to work in and out of the things. I can see the even lower floor FWD versions being even better. I can’t remember if Ford will be selling both versions of the big Transit.

      • 0 avatar

        Using the same “cheap as chips” rationale, a RV manufacturer here built some Class C’s on the E350 Chassis around 2002-2003. Did not last long, they were awful as a RV base. Manufacturer now uses European and Japanese Truck bases(Nothing to to do with a Tundra)

  • avatar

    Reported elsewhere… Ford will continue to produce E-series chassis (chassi? chassises?) for ambulances and whatnot.

  • avatar

    As someone who used to live in Avon Lake, Ohio and went to high school on Ford’s dime (thanks property taxes), I’m always glad to hear when AL assembly gets new product.

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