Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Ford shuts down F-150 production

Ford shuts down F-150 production

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's head of product development and purchasing, said the automaker was the first company on site at the parts plant after the fire and was able to recover 19 sets of production dies over a 48-hour period.

Ford says one F-150 comes off the line every minute between the two plants.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Mercedes-Benz also said output has been disrupted. Earlier in the week, Ford stopped making F-150s at a Kansas City plant because it didn't have the parts to build the trucks due to the same fire.

A fire at an automotive supplier plant in MI has prompted production of GM vans in Wentzville and Ford F-150 pickups in Kansas City, Mo., to temporarily grind to a halt.

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Ford said earlier Wednesday that it halted production of Super Duty trucks - the F-250 through F-750 pickups - at factories in OH and Kentucky, but Hinrichs clarified that production of those models only stopped in Kentucky.

"They are in all-hands-on-deck mode at Ford and the supplier trying to get things going again at a good rate", auto trader analyst Michelle Krebs said.

The company said it still has an ample selection of trucks at USA dealerships. However, Ford says dealers' inventories of the trucks are large enough to prevent a near-term shortage.

But last week, a massive fire broke out at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, where Ford F-Series parts are manufactured.

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"There's not a lot of this type of supplier around that has capacity to pick up that kind of volume", said Kristin Dziczek, an economist and labor expert at the Center for Automotive Research.

A message was left Thursday for officials at Meridian.

Approximately 3,600 workers in Kansas City are out of work until production can resume. "This weekend may be a different story", he said.

FCA's Chrysler Pacifica and GM's GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans have felt the production squeeze. But workers there have shifted to building midsize pickup trucks that come down the same assembly line, said spokesman Nick Richards. It is not clear how long the suspension will last. But the Super Duty will continue to be made at Ford's OH assembly plant in Avon Lake.

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The fire, which took place at Meridian Lightweight Technologies' facility in Easton Rapids, Mich., compromised a number of critical components for the production of the F-150.

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