At Ford's Rouge factory, where Henry Ford began building Model A cars almost 90 years ago, the automaker Tuesday officially began manufacturing an advanced, aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup, its top selling and most profitable model.
Much like Henry Ford's changeover from the Model T to the Model A in 1928, the birth of the 2015 F-150 has been painful, costing the company sales and profits this year as it closed the Rouge and a plant near Kansas City, Missouri, to install new tools and machinery to prepare for the largest production ever of an aluminum-bodied vehicle.
"We recognize this is the most-watched launch in the industry," Raj Nair, Ford product-development chief, told reporters in Dearborn, Michigan, Monday, adding that the introduction is on schedule. "We know the importance of getting the F-150 right."
Not everyone believes Ford can pull it off smoothly.