Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant re-starts F-150 production
Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 pickups started rolling off the assembly line at Dearborn Truck Plant on Friday after a fire at a supplier plant halted all production of the crucial truck for about a week. The Kansas City plant is expected to start building trucks again on Monday, putting F-150 production back in full swing.
Ford shuttered the Kansas City plant quickly after a May 2 fire and explosion at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids. The Dearborn Truck Plant followed on May 9, stopping all F-150 production. The Super Duty, built at the Kentucky Truck Plant, was affected. That production is expected to resume Monday.
The fire at Chinese-owned Meridian, which touts itself as the world’s largest supplier of magnesium die-cast components, sent ripple effects throughout the industry last week. The break in the supply chain also affected Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors Co., BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all of which halted or adjusted production of some vehicles in the U.S. and Canada last week. Among the vehicles affected are the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans.
But the loss of production for Ford’s profit-rich F-150 made the situation more dire for the Dearborn automaker. Ford said it was the first to arrive at Meridian after the fire, walking through the plant to retrieve its tools as the embers were still smoldering.
Ford and its teams recovered 19 of its tools from Meridian’s damaged facility in Eaton Rapids in order to repair or relocate them to Meridian’s facility in Nottingham, U.K. In the latter case, that meant air-lifting an 87,000-pound tool from Eaton Rapids to Nottingham in just 30 hours.
Just after the fire, Ford said it had an 84-days’ supply of the F-Series, which was expected to keep sales up amid lost production. The automaker is keeping its full-year guidance, but is expecting the downtime and efforts to restore F-150 production to adversely affect second quarter profits by between 12 and 14 cents per share.