A fire at a supplier's plant last week is causing some headaches for Ford. The company has halted production of the F-150 at Kansas City Assembly Plant, and F-Series Super Duty at Kentucky Truck and Ohio Assembly due to a parts shortage. F-150 production at Ford's Dearborn plant is expected to be idled either today or tomorrow.
The supplier, Meridian Lightweight Technologies makes instrument panel components for the F-Series trucks. Last Wednesday, the company's factory in Eaton Rapids, Michigan caught fire. The cause is still being investigated, but the Lansing State Journal reports the fire started in an area known as the "tunnel," a place where workers put magnesium scraps on a conveyor belt to be melted down. The fire caused a number of explosions to take place in the factory. Two people were injured and 150 workers were evacuated.
The situation at the moment is ok according to Ford and analysts if the shutdown only lasts a week. There is an 84-day supply of trucks and Ford is working with Meridan to figure out the “next steps.” But as AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan points out, this could cause some serious problems for Ford if it lasts more than a week.
"They should be able to weather a short-term shutdown. But if this goes longer than a week, it could really hurt second-quarter performance," Sullivan tells the Free Press.
Ford isn't the only automaker that is being affected by this.
- General Motors has halted production of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana at their Wentizville assembly plant in Missouri.
- FCA told Automotive News that the fire has affected the output of the Chrysler Pacifica, built at their Windsor, Ontario plant. They are "adjusting production schedules as needed to minimize plant downtime (and) will make up any lost production."
- Mercedes-Benz in a statement said, "we have cancelled production shifts in certain areas and adjusted production hours for our team members this week," at their Vance, Alabama plant - home to C-Class, GLE-Class, GLE-Coupe, and GLS-Class production.
- BMW told Automotive News that production of the X5 at their South Carolina plant will be affected somewhat, but their current supply of parts should keep them running for the time being.