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Update: Ford to Restart Truck Production

May 17, 2018

By Paul Clinton

A fire at a Michigan parts supplier cost Ford Motor Co. a month of downtime on its F-150 (pictured) and Super Duty pickup assembly lines. Photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.
A fire at a Michigan parts supplier cost Ford Motor Co. a month of downtime on its F-150 (pictured) and Super Duty pickup assembly lines. Photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. will resume production of its F-150 in Michigan on Friday and Super Duty trucks in Kentucky on Monday, following a week of downtime that resulted from a fire at the factory of parts supplier Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Mich.

The production outage appears to have minimal impact on the orders or delivery of trucks to commercial and other fleet users, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, during a media conference call yesterday.

“We’ve been contacting our largest commercial buyers,” Hinrichs said. ”We’re at a good time of the year for that business, so we don’t think there will be any substantial impact on those customers.”

Ford closed the order bank for its 2018 F-150 and Super Duty models on April 26. Hinrichs said the company has “ample supply” of the trucks with 84 days of F-Series inventory.

Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and BMW source components from the Meridian plant, which sustained severe structural damage during the May 2 blaze. The plant supplies front-end bolsters for Super Duty trucks that sit behind the grille, among other parts.

When contacted, officials with GM and FCA said they would provide an update shortly.

Following the fire, Ford team members entered the factory and began extracting 19 die machines that are used to inject molds to form the parts. The machines were inspected, repaired, and moved to other plants, including one to a Meridian facility in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Because of the size of the machines — one weighs about 87,000 pounds — Ford contracted a Russian Antonov cargo aircraft to carry it.

Production of parts has also restarted at Meridian’s Eaton Rapids plant.

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