NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Demand for Ford's (F) new 2015 F-150 pickup truck has been "outstanding," and now the company is beefing up production to keep up, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas.
The high demand is why Ford is excited to be putting its Kansas City plant online to increase production, he added. F-150s have sat on dealership lots for an average of just 12 days in January and 18 days in February, before being sold, he says. Both marks are far better than the industry average.
Fleet customers such as governments and corporations that buy vehicles in bulk will have to wait, however, because fleet production is not yet up to speed, Hinrichs said. Sales of the F-150 should be much stronger in the second half of 2015 once production and supply catch up to demand.
Hinrichs says the low price of gasoline isn't hurting truck sales, although fuel efficiency is one of the F-150's selling points. Fuel efficiency is still one of the bigger focus points for consumers, Hinrichs said.
According to ALG, a division of TrueCar (TRUE), the F-150 will have a higher residual value -- that's the projected market value at the end of a vehicle's lease -- than both the Dodge Ram (FCAU) and the Chevrolet Silverado (GM) because of the F-150's class-leading fuel efficiency for gasoline engines, he said.
The fuel efficiency comes from Ford's decision to use lighter aluminum for the body rather than steel. The moves shaves off roughly 700 pounds, which not only increases fuel efficiency but boosts the truck's performance, he noted.
Ford's looking for a strong year of sales from the new truck. The F-150 has been the No. 1 selling truck in the U.S. for 38 straight years and the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 33 straight years. "We don't intend to lose those crowns in 2015," Hinrichs concluded.