Ford temporarily shutting down F-150 production due to parts shortage

The fire took place last week at Meridian's 208,000-square-foot plant in Eaton Rapids Mich. near Lansing

Besides Ford and Daimler, which is pausing production of key sport utility vehicles, the parts shortage has also spread to General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and BMW AG factories. A Ford spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the automaker is working very closely with the supplier to get production restarted.

A fire last week at an auto parts factory near Lansing is now having an effect on production at the minivan assembly plant here in Windsor.

How much stopping production of the F-Series hurt Ford and dealers who rely on the popular pickup truck to generate huge sales depends on how long the assembly lines are shut down. Felker said Ford has continued manufacturing Expeditions, Navigators and other large vehicles uninterrupted.

Ford has enough of the die-cast magnesium parts on the shelf to keep production running at Dearborn through Thursday of this week, according to a letter from the plant's union chief received by employees.

Ford should recoup sales later this year unless the shutdowns are prolonged.

The fire in the supplier plant lingered and was hard to contain because the magnesium that ignited couldn't be extinguished with water. Meridian plant manager George Asher told Automotive News the company is working to move dies for stamping parts to its plants in Ontario and the United Kingdom.

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"We are now following our safety protocols and working alongside state agencies and utilities to ensure that resumption of operations will be done in safe manner". Automakers use magnesium parts to cut weight in vehicles, and improve fuel economy.

General Motors Co said on Wednesday it has temporarily halted production of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant because of parts shortages caused by the fire. More than 70 percent of SUV output is for export.

F-150 production also has been suspended at the Kansas City assembly plant, and the company says the Dearborn truck plant will be suspended tonight; F-Series Super Duty production is down at the Louisville truck plant, but Ford expects Super Duty production to continue at the OH assembly plant in Avon Lake. As a result, no workers have been laid off at those factories, Felker said. A two-week production halt for the F-150 could slice as much as $310 million from Ford's second-quarter profits, Buck Research analyst Joseph Amaturo wrote in a note Wednesday.

At the end of April, Ford had an 84-days supply of F-series pickups, according to AutoData.

Rosner added: "We will likely revisit our earnings estimates for Ford and its main suppliers once there is more clarity on the extent and magnitude of the production downtime". "Clean up and repairs are progressing", the statement said.

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