Ford tells dealers to use F-150s with generators to help Texans without power

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — Ford Motor Co. is telling its Texas dealers to help out Texans without power by supplying F-150s equipped with generators. 

The effort, first reported by Automotive News, comes after the south was hit hard this week by a winter storm that led to power outages and water supply issues. As of Thursday, about 325,000 homes and businesses were still without power, down from about 3 million a day earlier, but rolling blackouts are still a concern, the Associated Press reported. 

The new F-150, which debuted last year, gives customers the option to turn their truck into a mobile generator.

"Due to the urgent and unprecedented weather situation in Texas, a number of our local dealers are using all-new Ford F-150s equipped with Pro Power Onboard to help in their communities," Ford spokesman Mike Levine said in a statement, noting there are about 415 trucks on dealer lots in Texas that can help immediately. 

The new F-150, which debuted last year, gives customers the option to turn their truck into a mobile generator. Ford's 2-kilowatt generator is optional on the Ford F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost, 5-liter V8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost. That amount of power will run an electric heater, television, mini-fridge and other small appliances at the same time, Ford says

The Ford F-150 hybrid comes standard with a 2.4-kilowatt generator. 

Ford and other automakers have had to halt production at various plants this week because of the storm and its effects on the energy systems and the supply chain. 

The Dearborn automaker shut down production Thursday and Friday at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant where the Mustang is built because of "weather-related parts shortages," spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement to The Detroit News. 

Ford canceled production until Feb. 22 at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri where the profit-rich F-150 and Transit are built to reduce natural gas consumption during the winter storm. 

Earlier this week, the storm caused Ford to cancel production at its Ohio Assembly truck and van plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, and the Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico where the Ford Fusion and Lincoln products are built. 

General Motors Co. had four plants on Friday that did not run at least first-shift production: the Cadillac XT5, XT6 and GMC Acadia plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, the Arlington, Texas, plant where large SUVs are built, the Wentzville, Missouri, plant where mid-size trucks are built, and the Silao, Mexico truck plant.

Stellantis NV did not have any plants down for weather-related issues as of Friday. 

Meanwhile, automakers are still battling the global semiconductor supply constraint that has knocked out some production for all of the Detroit Three. 

Most recently, Ford said the Oakville Assembly Complex where the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are built will be down the week of March 1 due to a part shortage as a result of the semiconductor constraint.

GM stopped production through at least mid-March because of the semiconductor shortage at the Fairfax, Kansas plant where the Cadillac XT4 and the Chevrolet Malibu are built, the CAMI plant in Ontario where the Chevrolet Equinox is built, and the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico where the Equinox, the Chevrolet Trax and the GMC Terrain SUVs are built.

And Stellantis' Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario where the Chrysler Pacifica has been temporarily idled. 

IHS Markit predicts the chip shortage will cost the industry nearly 1 million units of production in the first quarter and is likely to still have an impact going into the third quarter.

Twitter: @bykaleahall