Ford F-150 production has come to a standstill at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant as the automaker works with Meridian Magnesium Products following a May 2nd fire at the supplier’s Eaton Rapids, Michigan plant. Ford Spokesperson Kelli Felker confirmed that the automaker has temporarily laid off all 3,600 workers from the Ford F-150 side of the plant as the issue is resolved, while a decision on whether to shut down the Dearborn Truck Plant is still pending. A shutdown there would affect another 4,000 Ford workers.
No date has yet been set for reopening the truck side of Ford’s Kansas City Assembly. The plant also produces the Ford Transit with about 3,400 workers. Production of that vehicle continues uninhibited.
Ford has also temporarily stopped building Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks, Kelli Felker says, although there have been no Super Duty-related layoffs from the automaker’s Kentucky Truck Plant or Ohio Assembly Plant. The fire at Meridian Magnesium hasn’t affected production of the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, or other large vehicles, Felker says.
“[Ford] has informed us that we have enough parts to build vehicles through Thursday,” UAW President and Dearborn Truck Plant Chairman Burkie Morris wrote in a letter to plant workers. “The company is meeting continuously to find a solution to replace and [manufacture] parts that were lost due to the fire at Meridian. According to the company, at some point we will have an interruption in production. At this time, the company doesn’t know for sure when or for how long we will be down.”
The Ford F-150 is a major profit driver for Ford Motor Company. For now, the effects of the interruption in production ought to be minimal, but “if this goes longer than a week, it could really hurt second-quarter performance,” AutoPacific Manager of Product Analysis Dave Sullivan told the Detroit Free Press. Just last month, Ford sold 73,104 F-Series trucks in the US – an increase of 3.5 percent over the same month last year.
The May 2nd fire at Meridian Magnesium Products reportedly originated in an area of the plant where magnesium scraps are loaded onto a conveyor to be melted down, and it was followed by a series of explosions. Two people were injured, and the incident prompted the evacuation of nearly 150 people from the premises.
(Source: Detroit Free Press)