• Ford Shortens Summer Shutdowns To Meet Demand For Trucks, SUVs

Ford has announced it will reduce the length of its traditional two-week summer shutdown in order to meet high demands for the F-Series, Edge, Escape, and Explorer. The automaker says by cutting the break down to one week, it will be able to produce an additional 40,000 units to fill dealer showrooms.

“Six of our assembly plants will build for an additional week in order to ensure we’re getting more of our vehicles into dealerships,” says Bruce Hettle, Ford’s Vice President of North American Manufacturing.

The six plants include Chicago, Dearborn Truck, Kansas City, Kentucky Truck, Louisville, and Oakville.

Besides offering workers some time off, Ford uses the normal two-week period for building maintenance and machine retooling. Now those repairs and upgrades must be compressed into half the time. This year’s shutdown is scheduled for the week of June 29.

Beyond those six assembly plants, their corresponding powertrain and stamping plants will follow the same downtime schedule. In all, sixteen plants will undergo the shortened break, keeping Ford’s supply chain full of vehicles.

Ironically this news comes after assembly plant workers say Ford will be cutting weekend and overtime shifts at both the Dearborn and Kansas City assembly plants due to a shortage of F-150 steel frames. The shortage comes courtesy of Ford’s frame supplier, Metalsa S.A., located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

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Why It Matters

Ford cites the reason for the reduced downtimes as an increased demand for F-Series truck and its newest SUVs. The new F-150, for example, only lasted 20 days on dealer lots before being sold while the new Edge spent only 10 days in dealer possession. The automaker expects the same scenario for the just-released 2016 Explorer, which is only beginning to hit showrooms.

The reduced summer shutdowns and additional 40,000 units flowing from factories is a good sign that the automotive industry is recovering nicely from the rough times experienced in the late 2000s.

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Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Ford Reduces Summer Shutdown to Meet Demand for Ford F-Series Trucks, Edge, Escape and Explorer

  • In response to increased customer demand, Ford will add capacity this summer to produce its most popular trucks and utilities
  • Ford will shorten its summer shutdown from the traditional two-week summer shutdown to one week for a majority of North American assembly plants, increasing production by close to 40,000 units
  • In April, Ford F-150 was turning at just 20 days on dealer lots, Edge sales were up 78 percent, and Escape and Explorer remained in tight supply. 2016 Explorers are now hitting dealer lots

In response to customer demand for Ford’s newest products, the company this year will produce close to 40,000 extra units by idling select plants for only one week during what has been the traditional two-week summer shutdown..

“To meet surging customer demand for our top-selling trucks and utilities, we are continuing to run our North American facilities during the traditional two-week summer shutdown in order to add close to 40,000 units,” said Bruce Hettle, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing. “Six of our assembly plants will build for an additional week in order to ensure we’re getting more of our vehicles into dealerships.”

As part of Ford’s annual production schedule, its North American manufacturing facilities will shut down from June 29 to July 10, 2015 for building maintenance and machine retooling. Based on strong customer demand for the company’s newest products – F-150, Edge, Escape and Explorer – six Ford assembly plants, along with supporting powertrain and stamping plants, will shut down only the week of June 29. Assembly plants include Chicago, Dearborn Truck, Kansas City, Kentucky Truck, Louisville and Oakville.

The powertrain and stamping plants taking a reduced summer shutdown this year include:

  • Livonia Transmission
  • Rawsonville Transmission
  • Sharonville Transmission
  • Sterling Axle
  • Buffalo Stamping
  • Chicago Stamping
  • Dearborn Consolidated
  • Kansas City Stamping
  • Kentucky Stamping
  • Woodhaven Stamping

Demand for Ford’s trucks and utilities continues to be strong. In April, Ford’s all-new 2015 F-150 was turning in just 20 days on dealer lots, while Edge spent just 10 days on dealer lots. Escape inventories remain tight in a growing small utility vehicle segment. Explorer inventories are also tight, with the new 2016 Explorer just beginning to hit dealer lots as production ramps up.

This is the third straight year Ford has kept plants running during summer shutdown in order to meet strong demand for its products. Over the past several years, the company has invested more than $6.2 billion and added more than 15,000 jobs in its U.S. facilities to help meet customer demand for its newest products.

The increased production was included in the financial guidance Ford confirmed in its first-quarter earnings report on April 28, 2015.

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