Ford Unveils New Super Duty At Churchill Downs On KenTRUCKy Day


The state of Kentucky is getting ready to welcome billons of dollars of investments by Ford Motor Co. in the state so the auto company can complete its relatively abrupt conversion into a serious maker of electric vehicles in the next few years. But in the meantime, the Bluegrass State, its leaders and its people are appreciating the heck out of the fact that they’re such an important part of the here-and-now of Ford’s business.

At no time was that clearer than last week, when Kentucky Governor Andy Breshear declared September 27 as “KenTRUCKy Day” in the state and feted Ford CEO Jim Farley and other top executives of the automaker at the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs to celebrate the fact that Ford already employs more than 12,000 people in Kentucky, including 8,500 who work at its Louisville plant where Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks are produced.

“Super Duty is the truck for people who build our country right here at Churchill Downs,” Farley said, noting that the home of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville was doing some construction of a new grandstand in the shadow of its iconic Twin Spires. “I know they got to their job in a Super Duty, [and] this same story happens across our nation as we speak. We’re talking about tradespeople, first responders, and so many more.”

Perhaps ironically, owners of Super Duty trucks will probably be among the last in America to be able to move to all-electric vehicles even if they want to. Ford already has begun producing and selling lighter, F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup trucks, built in Dearborn, Michigan. Because of Super Duty, Ford is the largest vehicle producer in Kentucky, where Toyota also has a manufacturing complex, and the kind of power required for those models put them in a category that will be last in coming to the all-electric mode.

In the meantime, in fact, Ford used the occasion of KenTRUCKy Day to reveal the 2023 version of the Super Duty truck and announce an additional $700-million investment that will create another 500 jobs at the Louisville plant. It’ll be the first truck in America to offer 5G connectivity, Farley said.


Ford’s earlier-announced EV-related investments in Kentucky, set to begin in earnest next year, include nearly $6 billion in electric battery production that is expected to create about 5,000 jobs in Hardin County.

Breshear noted at Churchill Downs that Ford’s activities have indirectly created more than 120,000 jobs for Kentuckians and that the company, during Covid, donated masks to the state’s stockpile to protect its front-line health-care workers. The company also sent trucks to the region to provide aid and help rebuild communities that were badly damaged by epochal floods that occurred in Kentucky last summer.

Farley noted that Ford started in Kentucky in 1913 with 17 employees making 12 Model T’s a day. Today, Ford’s workforce in the state makes more than a half-million trucks and SUVs each year.

Kentucky will play a key role in Ford’s plans to scale up to production of two millions EVs a year, Farley said. Batteries made at the planned Blue Oval SK Battery Park in the state will power many of those vehicles.