Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Ford Motor Company Shuts F-150 Truck Production After Parts Supplier Fire

Ford Motor Company Shuts F-150 Truck Production After Parts Supplier Fire

The production stoppage comes after an explosion and fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America's factory in Easton Rapids, Mich., cut off the supply of components used in the F-150's instrument panel.

Fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products plant which supplies Ford with radiator support has led to shortage of vital parts for Ford F-150. The fire that damaged the auto parts supply factory is causing production problems at Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors, but it's too soon to tell yet whether dealers will run short of vehicles. AutoData reports Ford had an 84-day supply of F-Series trucks at the end of April, giving plenty of leeway in the supply chain.

Ford on Monday idled F-150 production at its plant in Kansas City until May 14, temporarily laying off 3,600 workers.

The F-150 is Ford's best-selling vehicle and is the source of most of the automaker's global profit. The two assembly plants that manufacture the F-150 generate a combined $40 billion in revenue annually. He noted that the company has "strong inventories" for its best-selling F-150. It is Ford's only supplier of this product in the USA, and without it, the truck's production is unable to continue.

Production of the Explorer, Flex, MKT, Expedition and Navigator is not expected to be halted, Ford said. Meridian has other buildings in Eaton Rapids and another magnesium plant in Ontario, but it's unclear how much volume they can pick up, she said.

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"This is an extremely fluid situation", Kelli Felker, a Ford spokeswoman, said by phone.

The F-150 is built only at the two sites, and there is no scheduled date for the reopening the Kansas City Plant. Some insiders have suggested the parts shortage could last for several weeks.

It should be noted that Meridian is looking for a new facility to set up stamping operations, but that takes time and until the company produces more chassis components, Ford F-Series production is halted.

Production of the larger Ford-Series Super Duty was also paused at the Louisville, Kentucky plant, but production will continue at an additional plant in Ohio.

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