We've seen driving shots, unveiling rumors, and even nicely detailed photos of the 2021 Ford F-150's screen-heavy interior, but the truck's official order and production dates have been kept under wraps to this point. Sleuths over at the F-150 Gen14 forum haven't been resting on their laurels, though, as they've listed timelines for the next-gen pickup's release, even updating them with what they claim to be newly released, official information regarding coronavirus delays.
The forum claims an updated order date of June 15, while first-round production is supposedly slated to start Sept. 28 and Oct. 26 at Ford's Dearborn and Kansas City facilities, respectively. The dates have both been moved back by the forum admins, allegedly to accommodate extra time for the COVID-19 shutdown currently in place.
Dates listed by fleet management companies online appear to add weight to the forum's claims. Donlen Company, a fleet arm of Hertz, shows order and production dates that agree with the enthusiast site. Napleton Fleet Group lists different data, though it does correspond with the forum’s pre-pandemic information, meaning it might only need refreshed to reflect the alleged current dates.
As of today, none of Ford’s assembly lines are producing vehicles due to COVID-19, but the company has been working to produce respirators, ventilators, and other protective equipment for healthcare professionals. Ford has brought employees back to the Ypsilanti, Michigan plant to work on these projects, but has not mentioned if any such pivot will take place at the Dearborn facility where the F-150 is made. The dates for production in Ford's Kansas City plant are slightly later than the Michigan timeline, but they still leave a lot to chance with the threat of a rapidly spreading illness.
Despite the evidence in their favor, it’s best to view these dates with a skeptical eye. In recent days, we’ve heard automakers’ desires to get back to work, only to have those hopes dashed by the cautious United Auto Workers union. It’s also important to remember that, as of now, stay-at-home orders in Michigan currently extend through May 15. If state health officials don’t see improvements by then, there could be a longer march ahead of the F-150 production team, and that’s saying nothing of the fact that mass-producing any vehicle requires an enormous mobilization of suppliers and related companies.
The Drive has reached out to Ford for comment and will update as more information becomes available.
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