Fire forces Ford to freeze F-150 production

Ford F150

Ford Motor Company has been forced to stop production of the F-150, F-250 and F-350 due to a shortage of chassis components after a key supplier had a massive factory fire.

The fire was at one their suppliers, Meridian Magnesium Products, in Eaton Rapids. It was also to suspend production at its Dearborn Truck Plant on Wednesday night through at least the end of the week, affecting about 4,000 workers.

The Ford Essex engine plant will be closed for the rest of this week.

Ford's executive Vice President and president of Global Operations said, "It's a full team effort and we're confident that any impacts will be short-term".

Almost 150 people were forced to evacuate the building, but only two were injured, according to the Lansing State Journal.

General Motors' Chevy and GMC brands are launching new full-size competitors to the F-150 and won't have all-new trucks until later this year.

According to Meridian, the affected plant produced instrument panel components for the Ford F-150, the F-Series Super Duty trucks and other vehicles.

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The Drive reached out to a spokesperson from Ford to inquire about how this incident will impact the production of the F-Series pickups in the near future.

Both local Unifor presidents said it's a temporary change as they continue to evaluate the fire's impact on local production.

The shutdowns could last for several weeks, according to a person familiar with the situation, although plans are in flux as Ford seeks an alternative supply of the missing parts. Meridian plant manager George Asher told Automotive News that the company is working to move dies for stamping parts to its plants in Ontario and the United Kingdom.

The halt in production was caused by a May 2 fire at a MI based parts factory that rippled through the auto industry of North America, with Ford being the hardest hit.

Reports from around the industry suggest that earlier this week, Ford had about 84 days' worth of F-Series inventory on hand. Even one missing part from a supply chain is enough to halt production of a vehicle.

Magnesium Products of America and its parent company, Meridian Lightweight Technologies, say the fire is still under investigation, but production is coming back online.

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