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Ford to Invest $80M in Kentucky Plant

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Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) announced that it will be investing $80 million and will employ 350 new workers at its Kentucky truck plant. This initiative will help the automaker meet the rising demand for the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks.

Ford is witnessing rising demand for its F-Series Super Duty trucks. Ford’s F-Series has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for the last 37 years. It has also been America's best-selling vehicle line for the last 32 years.  The truck line had total sales of over 750,000 in 2013.

Ford intends to use the $80 million investment for modifying and retooling the facility and increasing its capacity to meet market demand. This undertaking is expected to result in a 15% hike in production capacity.

The Kentucky Truck Plant, which spreads across 6 million square feet and has nearly 4,000 workers, started operating in 1969. The plant manufactures F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 Super Duty pickups, together with Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. With the implementation of this expansion strategy, the plant is expected to manufacture the 5-millionth Ford F-Series Super Duty.

Kentucky is one of the largest auto-producing states in the U.S. Most large auto manufacturers have facilities in the state. Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report) has a large production plant at Georgetown, KY, while General Motors Co. (GM - Analyst Report) produces Corvettes at a plant located in Bowling Green, KY.

Ford posted earnings per share of 31 cents in the fourth quarter of 2013, which is in line with the fourth quarter of 2012 (all excluding special items). With this, the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents.

Revenues in the quarter grew 3.6% to $37.6 billion, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $35.47 billion. The improvement was attributable to increased wholesale volumes in the automotive business.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA - Analyst Report), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a better-ranked stock in the automobile industry and is worth considering.

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