Ford Set to Idle F-150 Assembly Line for Maintenance in May
Production troubles to be addressed, aided as dealer inventory swellsby Mark McNabb, on
Ford Motor Company is temporarily idling the F-150 assembly line within its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri for one week. The halt comes as a response to mechanical issues hindering the plant’s production output. The shutdown will happen May 9th and last until the 16th. The UAW Local 249 confirmed that employees will be on layoff that week.
This comes at a time of high dealership inventory. In fact, the F-150 currently has a 105-day supply, the highest it’s been since 2006. What’s more, Ford’s second F-150 plant in Dearborn will continue building pickups without interruption. Ford already had scheduled maintenance for the Missouri plant during the fall, but the high inventory levels allowed that timeline to be pushed forward.
“We took a look at our inventory levels on F-150 and said we can afford to do that now,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, in an interview with Automotive News. “We want to be able to run better for the rest of the year.”
Roughly half of the Kansas City Plant’s 7,500 employees will be affected, with the other half continuing to build the Transit van.
Ford made no mention of what exactly the maintenance problem involves, or what solutions will be used to correct it. However, Hinrichs did reaffirm that F-150 sales were extremely strong despite the large dealer inventory. “The demand from the dealers has been greater than what we’ve been supplying,” he said. How his statement corresponds to the inflated dealer inventory is unknown. For comparison, Ram has a 90-day inventory of 1500s, while Chevy only has an 82-day inventory of Silverado pickups.
Regardless of F-150 sales, Ford is undoubtedly preparing for the upcoming Super Duty launch. The all-new truck features an all-aluminum body like the F-150, along with a similar dashboard design. The truck is set to go on sale this fall.
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Why It Matters
Maintenance is a necessary evil that often waits for no one. Addressing the issue is the smartest course of action for Ford, especially since the problem is cutting into F-150 production. It’s possible the drop in production during the one-week furlough will be compensated by the increased production output after the maintenance is completed.
Ford has to also ensure its production facilities are in top-notch working order before the next-generation Super Duty starts rolling off assembly lines. Once online, the full breath of F-Series production will further Ford’s title of producing the largest number of all-aluminum bodied vehicles in the world.
Source: Automotive News