Last month when TheStreet was at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, we saw plenty of new models, heard great keynote speeches and spoke with a bunch of insider executives.
But another cool factor? Watching the unveiling for the North American Car and Truck of the Year winners. Even better was getting up close and personal with the Lincoln Navigator, which won the North American Truck of the Year award (NATOY).
Ford (F - Get Report) , which owns Lincoln, recently said it plans to increase its production of the Navigator and Expedition SUVs thanks to increased demand. After seeing the Navigator, this comes as no surprise. It being an award winner only boosts its appeal to consumers.
So just how much more production are we talking about? According to the automaker, Ford plans to boost production by 25%. While the Expedition starts at $51,695, its Navigator cousin is available at a base price of roughly $72,000.
According to its latest sales report for January, the Navigator posted a retail gain of nearly 132%. Clearly there's demand for the NATOY winner, but it goes beyond that. Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said that not only is demand strong in general, but there's clear demand for the high-end trims from both the Navigator and Expedition.
For some color, the Platinum Expedition starts at almost $73,000, while the Reserve and Black Label Navigator models start at $81,205 and $93,705, respectively.
Investors are hoping that increased demand leads to a larger bottom line. And one would think it will. The Navigator is off to its best start in a decade, while the Expedition saw sales jump 56.8%. This is no small sneeze for vehicles this expensive, let alone those fetching higher price tags for more luxurious features.
More on TheStreet from the Detroit Auto Show:
- Nvidia-Powered Full-Blown Self-Driving Cars Are Closer Than You Think
- Thought You'd Never Buy Another BlackBerry? Think Again
- Get Ready for Ford F-150 to Have Diesel and Hybrid Engines
- 3 of the Coolest Concept Vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show
Ford stock is down badly from the start of the Auto Show in mid-January, where it tagged a high near $13. After the collapse of the S&P 500, shares are down almost 20% to $10.60. Disappointing earnings in January didn't help matters.
But the hope is that increased sales from big-ticket items will help carry the load. Ford's already responsible for the country's best-selling vehicle, the F-150 pickup truck. Investors love SUV and truck sales because these vehicles carry a higher price tag and generally better margins.
Let's see if it can get the automaker back on track in 2018. Or if it will continue watching General Motors (GM - Get Report) , Ferrari (RACE - Get Report) and Fiat (FCAU - Get Report) race even further distance. So far, it's only giving Ford stock a small bump, up 0.81% to $10.61 Monday.