Monday, 15 October, 2018

Ford suspending production of F-150

Ford F-150 production could be shut down — but that probably won't wreck 2018 sales Ford Halts Production For Some Trucks After Parts Maker Catches Fire
Cristina Norman | 11 May, 2018, 04:28

Depending on how severely the parts shortage affects Ford, competitors may be able to entice truck shoppers with increased incentives.

The incident has reportedly affected production at a number of other assembly plants, including some run by Ford and Mercedes.

Ford is resigned but hopeful.

A fire at a supply factory in MI has halted a production line for one of Ford's most popular truck series.

The F-150 is a brand at Ford that drives profits.

The major fire at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, Mich., on May 2 created a shortage of die-cast parts for the F-150, which is produced at plants in Missouri and MI. Automakers use magnesium parts to cut weight in vehicles, and improve fuel economy.

On Wednesday, Ford announced that it was suspending F-150 and Super Duty pickup production in Kansas City, Missouri; Dearborn, Michigan; and Louisville, Kentucky.

The plants that produce the F-150 are in Kansas City and Dearborn.

Ford says it's working with suppliers to limit the impact on production. He noted that the company has "strong inventories" for its best-selling F-150.

Ford has not given a specific timeframe for the shutdown.

Ford said the disruption would have an "adverse impact" on its financial results that will be contained to the second quarter, but the company left its earnings guidance unchanged for the full year.

Meridian Lightweight Technologies also has a factory in Ontario, and could represent a temporary solution for supplying parts.

"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.

Equipment that wasn't damaged will have to be relocated and automakers will have to find another place to get magnesium castings, Dziczek said. Among other items, Meridian supplies Ford with the magnesium radiator support structure, which holds radiators on the trucks.

A message was left Thursday for officials at Meridian.

There are relatively few suppliers of magnesium parts, which means the auto companies could be without critical components for some time.

He said the Monday shift will go ahead as scheduled. Company management said it's working to get back up and running as quickly as possible.

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