Ford confirms further downtime at North America plants due to chip shortage

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday confirmed new production impacts tied to the global semiconductor shortage, a months-long supply chain snarl that has disrupted auto production worldwide.

"While we continue to manufacture new vehicles, we're prioritizing completing our customers' vehicles that were assembled without certain parts due to the industry-wide semiconductor shortage," spokesperson Kelli Felker said in a statement. "This is in line with our commitment to get our customers their vehicles as soon as possible and consistent with our forecasted supply."

Hundreds of Ford trucks fill a parking lot near I-96 in Detroit, April 25, 2021. A global semiconductor shortage has forced car manufacturers to stockpile unfinished vehicles.

The Dearborn automaker is adjusting production plants at the following plants in North America to prioritize those builds, it said:

  • Chicago Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of July 5, 12, 19 and 26 and will run two shifts the week of August 2.  The plant builds the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator and according to Ford's website employs more than 5,800 people.
  • Dearborn Truck Plant will run two crews the weeks of July 12, 19 and 26. The plant builds the Ford F-150 and F-150 Raptor and employs 4,400 people, according to Ford's website.
  • Flat Rock Assembly Plant, which employs more than 2,400, will be down the weeks of July 12 and 19. Workers there build Mustangs.
  • Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico, which employs more than 2,800 and builds the Bronco Sport, will run one of two shifts the weeks of July 12 and 19. 
  • The F-150 line at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri will be down the weeks of July 12 and 19. The plant's Transit line will be down the week of July 19. That plant employs more than 7,200 people, according to Ford's website.
  • Kentucky Truck Plant will be down the week of July 12 and will run two shifts the weeks of July 19, 26 and August 2. That plant, which builds Ford F-250–F-550 Super Duty Trucks, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, employs nearly 9,000 people.
  • Louisville Assembly Plant, which builds the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair and employs more than 4,000, will run on a reduced schedule the week of July 19.
  • Oakville Assembly Complex in Canada will produce only the Nautilus the weeks of July 19, 26 and August 2. The plant also builds the Ford Edge.

Michigan Assembly Plant — which just launched production of the highly-anticipated Ford Bronco, and also builds the Ford Ranger — will be down the weeks of July 5 and July 26 due to "an unrelated part shortage," Ford said.

General Motors is storing Chevrolet Traverses and Buick Enclaves which are missing semiconductors because of the global shortage on a Michigan State University lot at East Mt. Hope Road and Farm Lane in East Lansing on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Meanwhile, the only General Motors Co. North American plant currently down because of the chip shortage is Fairfax Assembly in Kansas, which has been closed since Feb. 8. Employees there were recently informed the plant would remain down through the week of Aug. 16. The plant makes the Cadillac XT4 and Chevrolet Malibu.

GM’s Lansing Grand River plant is currently only running Chevrolet Camaros and halted production of the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 through Aug. 9 because of the chip shortage.

The 2020 Camaro SS, with its reworked front fascia, instantly received praise from motorhead magazines and Camaro forums alike.

The shortage of semiconductor chips — essential components that power many of the automated and electronic features in modern vehicles — is due to a range of supply chain disruptions. They include market forces tied to the demand for consumer electronics amid the pandemic, a strong rebound of demand for new vehicles, and events such as a fire at a chip manufacturing facility in Japan.

Global consulting firm AlixPartners has pegged the impact of the shortage as $110 billion in lost revenue globally and some 3.9 million vehicles of lost production this year. The firm's analysts expect to see some recovery and fewer plant shutdowns starting in the third quarter and continuing into the fourth.

"The wave should get past us," said Dan Hearsch, a managing director in AlixPartners' automotive and industrial practice. "There will continue to be intermittent blips ... but you shouldn't have plants shut down for weeks or months at a time."

Meanwhile, IHS Markit released a new analysis of the shortage Wednesday saying that while the situation remains fluid, some of the supply-side shocks that have exacerbated the crisis are beginning to ease.

"In the third quarter we expect continued disruption but not to the scale seen in the first or second quarter," the analysis states. "We expect an improvement over the first or second quarter because the situation is becoming better understood and great efforts are being made to enhance visibility within a very complex supply chain."

"However," it cautions, "there are still mixed signals and it is too early to sound the 'all-clear.'"

Twitter: @JGrzelewski

Staff writer Kalea Hall contributed.