Ford Stops All Production of F-150 Pickups Due to Supplier Fire

Ford suspended all its production of its F-150 pickup, the bestselling vehicle in the nation for over 35 years, due to a parts shortage.

The halt in production was caused by a May 2 fire at a Michigan based parts factory that rippled through the auto industry of North America, with Ford being the hardest hit. Production at Mercedes, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors was also disrupted.

The impact everyone else faces will pale in comparison to Ford, an automotive research firm located in Ann Arbor, Michigan said. The problem could be enormous for Ford, said the analyst.

An executive with Ford acknowledged on Wednesday that the entire supply chain must be rebuilt.

The F-150 is a brand at Ford that drives profits. An analyst calculated recently that the value of the F-Series truck is greater than of Ford overall. In 2017, Ford sold close to 900,000 at a price that averaged $46,000. Sales in April were up 4% from the same month in 2017.

This week the Kansas City Assembly Plant of Ford located in Missouri shut down the truck side of the plant and 3,400 workers were sent home due to the parts shortage that the Meridian Magnesium Products’ fire caused.

As of late Wednesday, Ford announced that its Dearborn Truck Plant is going to be shut down following the second shift of the day and will affect 4,000 workers.

Ford builds the F-150 in just two locations.

The stoppage in production was not yet been determined, said a Ford spokesperson, but the impact could be several days.

The supplier, Meridian Magnesium Products, did not confirm timelines. At the same time, officials with the United Auto Workers warned Ford workers they needed to be prepared for likely layoffs

Meridian is North America’s No. 1 supplier for the part in the F-150 that holds radiators in place. The part is made of magnesium, which is a light metal, adding little weight to the vehicle helping with its fuel efficiency.

Officials at Ford confirmed that Meridian is the producer of “front bolster,” which reinforces the engine at the point in which the radiator is attached on its F-150, Expedition, Navigator and Super Duty trucks.

The supplier is also a maker of a cushion pan for third row seats in the Explorer, Flex and Lincoln MKT, as well as a lift gate on the MKT.

Fiat Chrysler purchases instrument panels made of magnesium from Meridian.