Ford stopped its F-150 production lines at its Dearborn Truck Plant on Wednesday night, May 9, because of a fire at a parts supplier, The Detroit News reported. Earlier in the week, Ford stopped making F-150s at a Kansas City plant because it didn’t have the parts to build the trucks due to the same fire.
Magnesium die-cast components supplier Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, Michigan suffered an explosion followed by a major fire on May 2. Until Meridian Magnesium is up and running, all F-150 and Super Duty pickup lines will stay idle.
Ford recovered all of its tools and dies from Meridian, none of which were damaged, according to Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing. The next steps are getting the Meridian plant back online and beginning casting at other facilities.
No one knows for sure how long it will take to restart the Meridian Magnesium plant. Meridian did not respond when The Detroit News asked for a comment.
Ford is resigned but hopeful. “I think it’s safe to say we’re going to see an impact for several days, but we can’t say beyond that,” The Detroit News quoted Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of global operations. “We do not see the situation impacting sales at all.”
Ford dealers and distribution chains currently have 84 days’ worth of supply, which Ford told The Detroit News should be sufficient to fill the demand.
Hinrichs told the Detroit Free Press, however, “We have to rebuild the whole supply chain.”
Ford’s F-series trucks are its most profitable models as well as the best-selling vehicle for the company and the U.S., the latter a spot it has held for 36 years. The F-Series accounts for the majority of Ford’s annual profits.
Production at General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz also stopped or shifted production because of parts shortages from the fire. The impact of the fire on Ford is much greater than it is on the other companies, however.
FCA’s Chrysler Pacifica and GM’s GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans have felt the production squeeze. The only plant that makes the Savana and Express vans has shut down. A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson told The Detroit News the Pacifica production line had been halted.
The fire also impacted production at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina facility and Mercedes-Benz’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant.
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