Ford is completely shutting down production of its best-selling F-150 for now, after a fire last week damaged a supplier, cutting off supply for a crucial part. Production at a Michigan factory that assembles the truck is stopping after the second shift Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The shutdown could last for several days, if not longer.
Ford had already shut its F-150 plant in Kansas City earlier this week due to the fire, and temporarily laid about 3,600 people off as a result. The automaker had been considering a shutdown at its other assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan, which employs an additional 4,000 workers, saying Tuesday it was a “fluid situation.”
Ford’s Dearborn factory was expected to run out of parts from the supplier as early as Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. The supplier, Meridian Magnesium Factory, has been closed since May 2, after a fire and explosion ripped through its plant in Michigan. Meridian said Wednesday that it’s working to resume operations and supply “as soon as possible.”
Ford’s F-Series brings in significant profit for the automaker, and Morgan Stanley recently estimated its value exceeds that of the entire company. The plants could be idled for several weeks, according to reports.
A shutdown for longer than a week could impact the company’s second-quarter revenue and profit, Jamie Albertine, an auto analyst for Consumer Edge Research, told the Wall Street Journal.
Albertine estimated to the newspaper that Ford makes about 10,000 to 15,000 F-150s a week, and added that while dealers likely have a few months worth of inventory, Ford could be dealt a blow from paying several thousand workers during the idled production time.
Ford Super Duty production ground to a halt at assembly plants in Kentucky and Ohio, but those facilities are producing other vehicles and no one has been temporarily laid off as of yet.
A Ford spokesperson wouldn’t confirm if the shutdown is set to begin tonight, when Jalopnik asked earlier Wednesday, and didn’t respond to questions about how long it’ll last.
“This is a fluid situation. Kansas City Assembly Plant is down this week due to a part shortage caused by a fire at a supplier facility,” said Ford spokesperson Keli Felker. “We are working closely with the supplier to manage the situation and to determine next steps.”
The company later confirmed that the Dearborn plant will shutter after the second shift Wednesday.
The company’s transmission plant in Livonia, Michigan, is also moving to one shift next week, according to a person familiar with the matter, as a result of the fire.
We asked Ford for additional comment, and we’ll update more if we hear back. The company is holding a conference call right now to give an update on the situation.
During the conference call, Ford couldn’t say how long the shutdown will last, saying the situation is evolving “hour to hour.”