Ford Ranger Demand Is Absolutely Unhinged, Ford Already Scheduling 'Massive Overtime'

Photo: Aaron Brown/Jalopnik
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Tesla is facing reality, the British auto industry is facing reality, and honestly we’re all just trying to make 2019 work, alright? All that and more in The Morning Shift for January 31, 2019.

1st Gear: Ford Putting 90 Percent of Capital Into Trucks and SUVs

Remember all of those years when enthusiasts mourned the loss of the Ford Ranger? Our time is now. President of Ford’s North American Operations, Kumar Galhotra, told reporters in Detroit on Wednesday that the company has such demand for the new Ranger that it’s already planning “massive overtime” to meet it. Ford considers its production capacity completely see-saw’d in the wrong direction, per a Bloomberg wire report:

Ford and General Motors Co. are slashing production of sedans and small cars, as automakers struggle with the collapse of demand for the traditional family car that has left them with excess factory capacity to make 3 million of those unwanted models. At the same time, they are boosting production of trucks and sport-utility vehicles to meet booming demand.

Galhotra said Ford is now putting 90 percent of its capital expenditure into producing trucks and SUVs. He didn’t provide further details on the planned production increase for the Ranger.

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I’m sure this pendulum will never swing back, and that gas prices will always be low, and Ford will never be caught out again.

2nd Gear: Analysts: Maybe America Doesn’t Want Any More Tesla Model 3s

Tesla just posted its 2018 round up last night and its look forward to 2019. Included in that was its first ever back-to-back quarterly profits and a truly astronomical workload to get everything it wants done for 2020.

But also there’s something interesting in Tesla’s discussion of how it’s shipping the Model 3, as noted in a Reuters report today:

Analysts were also concerned by Tesla’s indication that it is only making cars for China and Europe right now, and expects a gap of about 10,000 vehicles between production and deliveries due to vehicles in transit at the end of the first quarter.

“This is a strong indication that demand in the U.S. for both the mid-range and long-range Model 3 versions has largely been exhausted, and the company is still working through the estimated ~6.8k of unsold Model 3 inventory,” Cowen analysts said.

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Oh, shares of Tesla are down four percent, if you’re curious.

3rd Gear: Investment in British Car Industry Dropped 50 Percent For Some Reason

Hey y’all. Brexit?

Brexit, as reported by the Financial Times:

Investment in the UK’s car industry plunged by close to 50 per cent last year as manufacturers “sat on their hands” ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, the sector’s trade body reported on Thursday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for the industry as it outlined that carmakers and their suppliers had announced new investment in the UK worth £588m last year, down 47 per cent compared with 2017.

It also revealed that production was at its lowest level in five years, with 1.52m cars made in UK factories in 2018.

“If this is Project Fear, then we’re doing a good impression of it being a reality,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, referring to the phrase coined by Eurosceptics to dismiss predictions of negative economic consequences stemming from Brexit.

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It’s gotten to the point where I just feel bad for the British car industry. Anyone want to buy up a dead brand and get it going again? Maybe Lanchester? Invicta one more time?

4th Gear: Nissan Has First Date With New Boyfriend

While everyone is coming more out into the open saying that Ghosn got whacked, Nissan itself is moving forward more publicly as well. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard had their first official meeting in months, as the Japan Times reports:

AMSTERDAM - The leaders of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA met Thursday for the first time since the French automaker appointed new leadership in the wake of former chief Carlos Ghosn’s arrest more than two months ago over alleged financial misconduct.

[...]

The talks in Amsterdam coincide with a regular two-day meeting that will run through Friday between members of the alliance, which also involves Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Mitsubishi Motors chief Osamu Masuko will take part via video conference call, according to a company official.

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Poor Mistubishi, always left a little bit out in the cold.

5th Gear: U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Back Up to 1941 Levels

This news comes from Axios, so you know that you’re going to get a tiny snippet of information couched in a lot of required context. In this case, the catch is that while manufacturing jobs are up to the levels they were in the midst of the Second World War, that was done with a population less than half the size of what we have at the moment:

There were 12.8 million manufacturing jobs as of October, up from the 11.4 million in March 2010, the nadir of the financial crash, according to the St. Louis Fed. But they are still a shadow of their modern 19.4 million-job peak in 1979, and right about where they were in October 1941, when the U.S. population was 133 million, 40% of today’s.

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If you need me, I’ll be taking welding classes.

Reverse: Technically This Is a Vehicle So It Counts as Auto News

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Neutral: Why Didn’t You Love Normal Cars Like This?

What is it about pickups? What do they do that I can’t do? What is it! Tell me, please, god, I’m a shell without you.

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About the author

Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.