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.