DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. announced it will end F-150 production Wednesday night after the second shift ends because of a lack of parts from a supplier.
The F-150 has major importance to Ford. It's the best-selling vehicle in the country, and now that Ford is in the middle of an $11 billion cost-cutting initiative, shutting down the F-150 plants is a devastating blow.
A fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant that makes steering columns and dashboards for the F-150 forced Ford to shut down production.
"They are in 'all hands on deck' mode at Ford and the supplier trying to get things going again at a good rate," auto trader analyst Michelle Krebs said.
Ford depends on the F-150 for a quarter of its profits. Right now, it's already closed the Kansas City F-150 plant, and the Dearborn truck plant will close Wednesday night.
"I would say the biggest danger is if this lingers on longer," Krebs said. "It's the timing that could be really poor because the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has the Ram on the market and GM (General Motors Co.) will have two new pickups on the market this fall."
Ford said it has 84 days' worth of supply of F-150 trucks and customers shouldn't be concerned. Line workers will still get paid, but at a reduced rate.
"Ford can make up the production," Krebs said. "The supplier can make up production. They could add shifts to produce extra parts and get things going again."
Ford officials said there are backup machines that can make the parts they can't get, but that won't be enough parts to get plants that make about 1,000 vehicles each day back up and running for any length of time.
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