Ford Suspending F-150 Production Due to Plant Fire

Jeannie Matthews
May 11, 2018

Two workers were injured in the fire and about 150 were evacuated from the site. The probe covers about 282,000 pickups with 3.5-liter six-cylinder engines from 2015 and 2016.

Ford Motor Company has been forced to stop production of the F-150, F-250 and F-350 due to a shortage of chassis components after a key supplier had a massive factory fire.

Meridian makes aluminum and magnesium structural components at four plants in North America.

The F-series pickups have been the best selling vehicle in America for more than 30 years, and account for roughly a third of Ford's USA sales.

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The announcement came on Wednesday, with a company spokesperson, Mark Truby, stating "Our goal is to get ger production up and running as soon as possible". A two-week production halt for the F-series could slice as much as $310 million from Ford's second-quarter profits, Buck Research analyst Joseph Amaturo wrote in a note Wednesday. "We're confident that any impacts will be short-term", Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, said in a statement.

Ford says that dealers have enough inventory of the F-series trucks to prevent a near term shortage.

As a result, some buyers might have trouble finding the specific vehicle they want if the shutdown continues for more than a couple of weeks, Krebs said, even if there are plenty of other F-150's on their local dealer's lots. Those shortages are typical when vehicle inventory falls below 50 days. Jonas recently said the F-150 alone may be worth more than the whole company amid a slump in Ford shares. "When you're more dependent on only a few models to drive sales, the company's bottom line is much more sensitive to these kinds of unplanned setbacks".

The assembly plants can not move forward without parts from Meridian Lightweight Technologies, which suffered an explosion at its facility in Easton Rapids, Mich. The incident also impacts some production at General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Mercedes-Benz. The F-Series is America's best-selling truck, with 2018's sales up 4.1 percent over 2017, and 287,295 units delivered through April. Among the top competitors to the F-150 are GM's Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra 1500, the Dodge Ram 1500, and the Toyota Tundra. All told, Ford could lose production of 15,000 trucks per week if both Kansas City and Dearborn plants close.

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