Ford to extend downtime at several plants amid ongoing chip shortage

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

The ongoing semiconductor shortage that has hampered auto production worldwide has prompted Ford Motor Co. to extend previously-announced downtime at several of its plants in the coming weeks, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The Dearborn automaker's Chicago, Flat Rock and Kansas City assembly plants in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri, respectively, will be down the weeks of May 3 and May 10. During that period, Ford's Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake will produce only Super Duty Chassis cabs and medium-duty trucks, according to a spokeswoman. 

Production of F-150 pickups and other Ford vehicles continues to be hampered by a global semiconductor shortage.

The Chicago plant builds the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. Flat Rock builds Mustangs. And Kansas City builds the profit-rich F-150 pickup truck and the Transit commercial van.

Ford last week announced that those three plants would be down this week and next, and that Ohio Assembly would have reduced production during that time. Chicago and Flat Rock also were down last week. The latest update amounts to an extension of those plans. The company also previously announced that Kentucky Truck Plant would be down next week and the week of May 3, and that overtime shifts there would be canceled for much of May.

In Canada, Ford's Oakville Assembly Complex — which builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus — also will be down the week of May 3, an extension of previously announced downtime the weeks of April 12, 19 and 26.

"Ford's North American plants continue to be affected by the global semiconductor shortage — along with automakers and other industries around the world," John Savona, Ford's vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs, wrote in a memo to employees dated Wednesday and obtained by The Detroit News. "As you build every vehicle you can for our dealers and customers, our teams behind the scenes are working hard to source additional parts."

And in a reflection of the global nature of the issue, Ford also said it would see some new production impacts in Europe tied to the chip shortage. Downtime and reduced shifts are planned in the coming weeks at plants in Romania, Spain, Germany and Turkey.

Ford is far from alone in the supply-chain constraint. AlixPartners, a global consulting firm, has estimated that if the current trend continues, the auto industry could lose $61 billion and up to 2.5 million vehicles of production this year.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski