Ford F-150 Production Cut As Parts Supplier Recovers From Fire

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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)

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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7 Comments

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  1. Permit me to ask a question of Ford or any other automaker, plane maker, etc. When you need critical components and your manufacturing has to be shut down when the outside supplier can no longer supply those parts you are up the creek without a paddle. Did any of these biggies at Ford say to themselves “hmm, maybe we should use more than one supplier in case something goes wrong?” Apparently not! Why, because they go with the low bidder.

    • My thoughts exactly. If this supplier is providing such a critical component to the manufacturing of a vehicle as important as the F-150 is to Ford, you would expect some hard requirements there for another supplier, as you mentioned, or for that supplier to have disaster recovery and business continuity practices in place to be able to reasonably handle a scenario like this.

      • Exactly. In the real world Jeff this is called “a contingency plan.” Anyone who has been a manager at any level in any type of business is taught to have a contingency plan for the unexpected. Too many employees calling in sick, loss of electric power in a storm, and on and on. Anyone can be a manager when everything is working according to plan but few can manage the unexpected. Hard to believe these folks make millions and millions of dollars and be so stupid.

    • This proves that this already mismanaged company (they overspend their resources on the Mustang and the F-150 and basically nothing on the rest of their products) is even more mismanaged than I thought.

  2. Now, just watch. If this is impactful enough for Ford to lose the long-standing sales record for the F-150, the Chevrolet ads will come out in force spanking them instead of propping the Silverado/Sierra up on their own merits. Yeah, merits…

    • Never is a long time but I don’t think Ford will ever lose the F150 market to any other make. Let’s face it, they make the best truck on the market with the most engine and option choices. What will happen is that when they are up and running again they will offer extra incentives to get the lost sale back. Won’t be cheap but they will do it. My friend buys Chevy trucks to pull his trailer (Silverado HD 4 wheel drive). His 2017 has been in the shop 4 times because of loss of power on the highway. I say why not try a Ford and he says “I buy Chevie products because they have ONSTAR. So there you have it.

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