Although Ford has yet to be heard from, remaining North American automakers are boosting October-December production plans by 3.2%, or 124,500 units.

The 4,037,300 vehicles now set for Q4 completion equal a 3.6% gain on prior-year’s 3,895,700 assemblies, bringing 2013 to a close on a stronger note than had been forecast earlier.

Together with a stronger-than-expected third-quarter finish, now estimated at 3,926,800 vehicles, up 21,100 from a month ago, production for the year is projected to reach 16,380,200 units.

At that level, 2013 output would be 3.7% more than the 15,797,800 vehicles built in 2012, moving up to fourth-best, just ahead of the 16,318,783 turned out in 2005, but still trailing 2002’s 16,717, 553.

Even that could increase if Ford, not expected to reveal any changes until later this month, sees a need to further boost its already ambitious fourth-quarter slate.   

Of course all of this assumes new-vehicle sales, after a slight September respite, regain momentum in October and any negative impact from the federal-government shutdown is minimal.

On the downside, Volkswagen has slated an additional 2,600 cars for completion in October-December, but still is expected trail its prior-year performance by 14.8% in the quarter and 7.8% for the year.

Mercedes also is set to build 9.5% fewer units in October-December, although output for the year will edge 2012 by a modest 0.7%.

Chrysler is the only other automaker projecting fewer fourth-quarter assemblies, thanks to a 4,500-unit cut in the number of trucks slated for completion in Mexico. That reduction is only partially offset by an additional 500 cars to be turned out in U.S. plants and 500 vans in Canada.

Building to 103.9% of prior-year output, the Detroit Three account for 52.8% of 2013 production, slightly ahead of 52.7% in 2012.

Transplants, with output running 4.7% ahead of year-ago, take a 44.6% share, up from 2012’s 44.1%. Dedicated medium- and heavy-duty truckmakers, building to just 90.2% of their 2012 tally, account for 2.0% of output this year, down from 2.3% a year earlier.

abinder@wardsauto.com