Chip shortage prompts new F-150, SUV production cuts by Ford

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday confirmed new production cuts tied to the global semiconductor shortage.

The week of Sept. 6, Dearborn Truck Plant — which makes the Dearborn automaker's cash cow, the F-150 pickup truck — will operate on only one shift. Meanwhile, F-150 production at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri will remain down next week as well. Production of the Transit van will continue there.

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

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And Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville,  which builds Super Duty pickup trucks, the Ford Expedition SUV and the Lincoln Navigator SUV, will operate on two shifts the weeks of Sept. 6 and 13, down from three.

"The global semiconductor shortage continues to affect Ford’s North American plants — along with automakers and other industries around the world," Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker said in a statement. "Behind the scenes, we have teams working on how to maximize production, with a continued commitment to building every high-demand vehicle for our customers with the quality they expect."

Automakers around the world have been grappling with a shortage of semiconductor chips — parts that are essential for many automated and electronic features in vehicles — since late last year. 

Automotive forecasting firm AutoForecast Solutions estimates that, through Tuesday, the automotive industry globally has lost more than 7 million units of planned vehicle production. The widespread, lingering shortage has drastically lowered new-vehicle inventories, driving up prices of new and used vehicles alike and giving consumers fewer choices.

Ford was hit hard by the supply-chain constraints, particularly in the second quarter, which it attributed in part to a Renesas Electronics Corp. plant fire in Japan that halted production there for months. AutoForecast Solutions estimates the automaker has lost more than 510,000 vehicles it had planned to produce this year in North America alone.

While there was some optimism that the chip shortage would ease through the rest of this year, some experts and executives have warned the supply crunch is likely to persist throughout next year, amid a COVID-19 surge in parts of Asia where chip manufacturing is concentrated.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski