Ford Halts Production For Some Trucks After Parts Maker Catches Fire

Randal Sanchez
May 11, 2018

After a fire at a supplier's plant in MI last week, Ford has halted production of its most popular model.

The parts plant in Eaton Rapids, owned by Meridian Magnesium Products of America, supplies three different components for Ford vehicles: a front bolster used in the F-150, Super Duty, Expedition and Navigator; a 3rd row seat cushion pan used in the Explorer, Flex and MKT; and a liftgate inner used in the MKT. Mercedes' facilities in Alabama have adjusted hours in response to the supply interruption.

Ford estimates that it still has an 84-day supply of the trucks, meaning that the shortage will not be felt by consumers in the immediate-term. Earlier in the week, Ford stopped making F-150s at a Kansas City plant because it didn't have the parts to build the trucks due to the same fire.

Last month, Ford sold more than 73,000 F-series pickups with a majority being the F-150 model.

Authorities said there were explosions at the plant and two workers were hurt. That includes some larger trucks than the F-150, although the F-150 makes up the overwhelming majority of those sales.

Meridian Magnesium Products plant is located at Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

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A fire last week at an auto parts factory near Lansing is having an effect on production at the minivan assembly plant in Windsor and an engine plant in Essex. Super Duty output will continue at Ford's plant in Avon Lake, Ohio.

The plant supplies front-end bolsters for the Super Duty trucks, which sit behind the truck's grill, Felker said.

Depending on how severely the parts shortage affects Ford, competitors may be able to entice truck shoppers with increased incentives.

F-Series pickups generate most of Ford's profit, with Morgan Stanley recently assigning a higher valuation to the franchise than the entire company.

Ford says it's working with suppliers to limit the impact on production. The absence of even one component is sufficient to halt the production chain.

The production hiccup is the latest headache for CEO Jim Hackett, who has faced pressure from Wall Street analysts looking for more details about Ford's transformation plans.

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