What happened

Shares of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) opened higher on Friday, after Ford said that it will accelerate its return to full production and after a prominent Wall Street analyst raised his price target for the company's shares.

As of 10 a.m. EDT, Ford's shares were up about 3.5% from Thursday's closing price.

So what

Ford confirmed on Friday morning that it expects to return to its full pre-coronavirus production schedule in the U.S. on Monday, two weeks earlier than planned, as it scrambles to resupply dealers running low on Ford's strong-selling pickup trucks and SUVs.

A darkened photo of the front end of a pickup truck.

Ford released this "teaser" image of the all-new 2021 F-150 pickup, set to debut next week. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Ford chief operating officer Jim Farley said earlier this month that the company was aiming to be back at full production by July 6. The company's U.S. factories have been running at slower speeds than usual since reopening in May after an extended shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A Ford spokesperson said that the company's workforce and suppliers were able to get back up to speed more quickly than it had expected. 

Separately, in a note on Friday morning, J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman raised his price target for Ford's shares to $7 from $6, while maintaining a neutral rating on the stock. Brinkman said that U.S. new-vehicle sales and used-vehicle pricing have been recovering in May and June nearly as fast as they plunged in March and April. 

Both trends are bullish for Ford: Strong new-vehicle sales are good for obvious reasons; strong used-vehicle pricing helps Ford's financial-services subsidiary recover more money on off-lease vehicles and supports more aggressive new-vehicle lease pricing. 

Now what

Next week will kick off a busy season for the Blue Oval. The company will reveal an all-new version of its most important product, the F-150 pickup, in an online event Thursday evening. The much-anticipated Bronco SUV will debut soon after, on July 9. 

Those new products, and others to follow later in the year, will require retooling work at several of Ford's factories; part of the reason for Ford's accelerated return to normal is to ensure that inventories of current products can be replenished before that work starts.

For auto investors eyeing Ford's beaten-up shares, the new F-150 will be big news. Stay tuned. 

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