Ford to restart F-150 production after key supplier fire

Ford suspended production of the F-150 at its plant in Dearborn Michigan on Wednesday night. It had already suspended truck production at a plant just outside Kansas City Missouri. Those are the only plants that make the truck

Ford to restart F-150 production after key supplier fire

Ford Motor Co. plans to restart F-150 production at its Dearborn, Michigan, plant on Friday, about a week after it had to shut down following a fire at a supplier's facility.

In Kansas City and Dearborn, the company is looking at shortening its traditionally scheduled two-week shutdown period in July to one week so that more F-150s can roll off the line.

Returning to full production is likely to take some time as the automaker has scrambled to re-establish manufacturing of critical components from a supplier.

"Ford teams, together with suppliers including Walbridge and other contractors, worked almost around the clock to get America's best-selling vehicle franchise back on line as quickly as possible", the company said in a statement.

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To get production up as quickly as possible, Ford airlifted an 87,000-pound die to a Meridian plant in the United Kingdom on a Russian-built Antonov An-124 Ruslan, one of the world's largest cargo planes. The company also suspended the building of its F-Series Super Duty trucks in Louisville. Between export approvals, shipping logistics, and actual transportation, such a die shipment typically takes about 10 days.

"Faced with unexpected adversity, the Ford team, including our global supply partners, showed unbelievable resiliency, turning a devastating event into a shining example of teamwork", said Ford's executive VP of product development and purchasing.

Door-to-door delivery, accomplished in only 30 hours, we understand. In between, the Ford team received a United Kingdom import license for the die - a mere two hours before the plane touched down.

Inventories of Ford's best-selling F-Series pickups and other vehicles remain strong and customers won't have a problem finding the model they want.

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Ford has said its financial results for the second quarter will take a hit, though the exact cost remains to be seen.

The Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant where the fire broke out also produces parts for other automakers.

Reuters noted the F-150 full-size pickup generated US$41bn in revenue for Ford previous year, about 28% of total sales and the majority share of its profits.

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