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Ford Suspends F-150 Production

May 9, 2018 0 Comments

Ford Motor Co. is planning to suspend production of  its F-150 pickup production following a fire at a parts manufacturer.

The fire occurred at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, MI, last week. Ford has been working with the die-cast manufacturer since the incident.

Due to a parts shortage as a result of the fire, Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant shut down this week, sending some 3,600 workers home, Felker confirmed. Whether or not Ford’s plant in Dearborn, MI, will be shut down – a decision that would affect an additional 4,000 workers – is still pending.

The Ford F-150, a top-seller in the U.S., is only built at the two Michigan sites. No date has been set to reopen the Kansas City plant, according to Felker.

Burkie Morris, president of United Auto Workers and a chairman at the Dearborn truck plant, sent a letter to workers warning of potential job disruption.

“The company has informed us that we have enough parts to build vehicles through Thursday,” he wrote. “The company is meeting continuously to find a solution.”

Ford is making “adjustments and changes” by the hour as it works on “getting the parts needed to maintain our normal production schedule,” according to the letter.

“We are working closely with the supplier to manage the situation and to determine next steps,” Felker said.

Analysts, as well as the automaker, said that F-150 inventory is fine for now, but said the situation is “volatile.” Ford can’t have its inventories drawn down too much before it feels the impact on its bottom line.

“The F-Series is the profit machine for Dearborn,” said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis at AutoPacific Inc. “They should be able to weather a short-term shutdown. But if this goes longer than a week, it could really hurt second-quarter performance.”

In April, Ford built 29,572 F-150s at its Kansas City plant and another 31,482 in Dearborn.

“It’s a little early [to panic],” said Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at IHS Markit. “Not yet.”

The Kansas City plant also produces the Transit, a big commercial van, with the help from 3,400 workers unaffected by the shutdown, said Felker. The fire did affect production at a Fiat Chrysler plant in Windsor, Ontario, where the Pacifica minivan and its hybrid model are produced.

“The company is adjusting production schedules as needed to minimize plant downtime,” said Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson, “but will make up any lost production.”

The Windsor Assembly plant employs around 6,100 workers on three shifts, said the automaker, and produces the Dodge Grand Caravan as well as the Pacifica.

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About the Author:

Dave Martinson is a broadcast journalist for DrivingSalesNews. He has a background as a TV News Reporter, Anchor and Producer. He has also worked in Digital Marketing and Human Resources. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Brigham Young University – Idaho. He’s married and originally from the state of Washington. He’s a huge football fan and enjoys the outdoors.