By on November 27, 2013

In August, Ford Motor Company started production of their mid-sized Fusion sedan at its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant, supplementing production in Mexico to keep up with demand.

 

That demand has apparently been met now that Ford has confirmed that Fusion production at the Flat Rock facility will be idled for about a week next month “as we continue to match production with demand” for the Fusion. Also idled for the same duration will the the Michigan Assembly plant which builds the Focus and C-Max. Ford executives attribute higher than desirable Fusion inventories to more aggressive incentives offered by Toyota on the Camry. Toyota’s average incentives increased 8% in October from a year earlier.

Fusion inventories climbed to an 88 day supply at the beginning of November from an almost ideal 65 days supply a month earlier, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Ford employees posting on BlueOvalNews.com say that they’ve heard that the Flat Rock plant could be idled for an additional four weeks during the first quarter of 2014.

 

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145 Comments on “Ford to Idle Fusion Assembly at Flat Rock Plant for One Week in December to Control Inventory. Camry Incentives Blamed....”


  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    dont really see what the issue is. its better to control supply and hold your margins than flood the market. going to suck to be one of the workers, but hopefully they have some system in place where its not “feast or famine”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There really isn’t any issue here although I do believe that Camry incentives had an effect on Fusion sales. As the 2015 Camry appearance draws nearer

      http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013/11/toyota-plans-updated-camry-next-year.html#more

      I have no doubt that we’ll see even better incentives on the 2013/2014 Camry currently in stock and in the pipeline.

      Regardless of how much hype other carmakers use for their products in this segment, the Camry remains America’s best seller because it is the better value in spite of its boring appearance and handling.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This can’t be accurate.

    The new Fusion is and always has been a “game changer” destined to unseat Camry & Accord (and Altima & Sonata), as that claim was made by Ford and mindlessly repeated in so many automotive centered media outlets, sites & publications, and furthermore, it was alleged right here on TTAC just a week ago that Ford was on the cusp of increasing Fusion production to 400,000 units annually in what would be an inevitably successful effort to take the #1 seller midsize passenger sedan sales crown.

    Moreover, hasn’t Ford come a long way in rectifying what even its own objective fans would have to admit is nothing short of a long and vexing list of assembly, manufacturing and design defects plaguing the quality, reliability and durability of its vehicles, as mentioned specifically by Consumer Reports, which has highlighted Fusion (and Ford vehicles in general) motor, transmission, cooling system, electrical system, electronic system & fit & finish woes?

    (Cue the “but…but…it’s all MyFordTouch’s fault!” Fanbois chorus)

    After all, it’s not as if Ford suffers from manufacturing defects of a nature that would truly place it on hallowed circa-1988 Hyundai Excel ground:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20131126/BUSINESS01/311260077/Ford-to-recall-Escapes-again-for-oil-fuel-leaks

    “Ford is recalling the Escape small SUV to fix oil and fuel leaks that can cause fires.

    The hot-selling SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned and went on sale in the spring of 2012.

    The first of two recalls announced today affects more than 161,000 Escapes worldwide from the 2013 model year with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines.

    Ford says the cylinder heads can overheat and crack, causing oil leaks.”

    Cracked cylinder heads in NEW motors…nice.

    November 26, 2013
    09:12 EDT Ford recalling model year 2013 Escapes, AP reports

    “Ford (F) is recalling over 161,000 Escape small SUVs for the 2013 model year to fix oil and fuel leaks that can cause fires, the Associated Press reports.

    In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford said it began to get engine fire reports on Escapes in late August, and began investigating. Eventually it was able to duplicate the cylinder head cracking and decided to do a recall. During the investigation, Ford also found warranty claims of fuel line leaks and decided to repair them as well.

    In some cases, the fuel lines may have been installed incorrectly by technicians in a previous fuel line recall, the documents said.

    Auto safety advocates say the high number of recalls is out of the ordinary for a new model and a sign of quality problems.”

    Really now?

    1st it was coolant leaks causing fires, then it was something else (never did get specifics), and now it’s oil & fuel leaks & cracked cylinder heads…in brand new vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      Thought we were discussing the Fusion, not the Escape?

      Really though, I haven’t heard of the Fusion having the same problems with the 1.6L as is the Escape. The base 2.5L is a tried and true engine that hasn’t had problems and I’ve not heard any complaints about the 2.0L, so it’s not as if all Fusions are burning up on the sides of highways.

      My test for build quality is test driving 2-3 year old lease return vehicles. That’s where you get a real feeling for quality beyond taking some Consumer Reports at face value. That’s exactly why I passed on a Sonata as their lease return was a loose rattle trap with 30k miles. I don’t care how abused it was, it was junk.

      The new Fusion is too new to have any long term quantifiable data…and I don’t count the road warrior putting 30,000 miles/year on as long term use. Daily city driving – used and abused. Lets talk in a couple years and see where the Fusion stands. It’s anybody’s guess.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The 1.6 liter that is suffering major woes (including cracked cylinder heads) and has been responsible for many of the 7 recalls in the now one year old Ford Escape is also used in the game changing Fusion.

        The Fusion, if sources such as Consumer Reports are to be lent credibility (Ford fanboys will reflexively claim it’s now part of the Ford Sabotage Cabal), is extremely unreliable, suffering major issues with its ecoboost motor, cooling system, transmission, fit & finish, assembly quality, electrical systems & of course, the scapegoat for all things ailing FoMoCo that FoMoCo fanboys love to pin EVERYTHING on, MyFordTouch.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          DeadWeight, if you ever decide to get into the business of making and selling strawmen, your persistence will enable you to corner the market.

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            Given that every other EB fire recall began with one model and inevitably spread to the other, it’s a safe assumption to make that Fusions are once again catching fire in the literal sense, though not necessarily the sales charts.

            As a recent Ford owner, I’ve had it with this company. It needs to learn to make reliable, quality vehicles… or go away. No amount of technology (especially the exploding kind) can cover inherent incompetence in the engineering and manufacturing process.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I don’t want them to go away, they just need to work on reliability and lessening the emphasis on technology.

            My wife’s Edge underwhelms me….while the only major failure in 100k miles has been the dual cooling fan, the car drives way too heavy, the mpgs suck, and it has never exuded a solid feeling like her old Highlander.

            Before I bought my new car I checked Ford out – we had Fords growing up, they’ve always been the home team for me. I wanted a CUV, but the Escape interior was way too overstyled, the Explorer too big and the Flex too powerful (I wanted a 4 cyl). The Ford cars and F-150 are all well designed…perhaps the best domestic on that front. They just didn’t have anything I needed…

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          The 1.6L has had manufacturing defects related to the heads. Whether this is related to the recall or not is unknown to me.

          If you sift through DW’s ranting, it’s choked full of facts.

          As for the Fusion overcapacity, it shouldn’t be a surprise. I think it’s market share was overestimated. You can only win over so many customers and Ford’s initial quality may finally be impacting market share. We will only know a few years from now how successful One Ford was when it’s time for everyone to renew their leases / upgrade their mommy-mobiles.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The idea and execution of One Ford are two different things. Their products that sell the best, besides the Focus, are still regional. God help Ford if they F-up the next medium and large crossovers or decide not to build the next Expedition/Navigator. You would think the Expedition program would have the green light for a full clean sheet redesign by now.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            U22X will get one more refresh prior to a new platform. The next refresh will be 100% Design and Release from Mexico’s PDC in Santa Fe and Cuautitlan.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yes, the refresh is for 2015 or 2016. New engines, interior upgrades, MFT, and so forth. Exterior upgrades as well. Hopefully it will be as good as the Flex refresh.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “If you sift through DW’s ranting, it’s choked full of facts.”

            I’m not disputing that, nor am I defending Ford’s screw ups with this engine. I just get tired of his relentless, repetitive, borderline-obsessive wall-of-text screeds any time Ford is the topic.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            jz78817:
            I enjoy it. I get to reach into my mind and drop knowledge on everyone’s ass.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Than you, Tres, methods again, for being the honest intellectual broker you are.

            Tres complained about the volume & tone of my message, while verifying the accuracy of its content (and he has personal knowledge of the origin & quantity of QC problems I speak of).

            A few of you could learn a valuable lesson from Tres’s calm, factual demeanor.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I didn’t push my brother into a 2.0L escape for nothing. The 1.6L has been and will likely continue to be a dog. I don’t care if the 1.6L fusion comes with a 6 speed manual… it’s like saying that Kate Upton comes with AIDS.

            Who am I kidding? I would still hit it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Just wrap it up tres. Or roll the dice. It might be worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            DW-

            The only things I ever disagree with you on are things that can be considered subjective. If anyone argues that Ford isn’t having more than its fair share of QC problems, than they probably aren’t even worth arguing with.

            Even I, champion of MFT, and enjoyer of the V6 ecoboost, will admit there has been way too many Ford problems lately. I even had fit & finish issues with a new Focus. It had to go back to Wayne in order to be fixed. If I didn’t have an excellent dealer and the ability to talk to the right people in Dearborn, it would have been a much worse experience for all parties involved.

        • 0 avatar
          Volt 230

          It’s no secret that the previous Mazda-based Fusion was a lot more reliable than this Mondeo-based one, Ditto for the Focus and Escape, what is the point of denying that fact, just look at the owner satisfaction surveys.

        • 0 avatar

          1.6L Ecoboost is replaced with 1.5L Ecoboost.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      TWO MASSIVE THUMBS UP!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      From C&D

      “A six-speed Accord Sport sedan for $24,505 rates as the best all-around value for a new car, period.”
      http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2014-10best-cars-feature-dynasties-2014-bmw-3-and-4-series-honda-accord-page-3

      Mazda6 is a winner too and if you’re buying looks, the copycat Fusion isn’t in the same universe.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    You have to ask what’s worse, stopping Fusion production for a few days to reduce inventory or having that additional inventory on your balance sheet, with the related cost of finished vehicles that remain unsold.

    This article also doesn’t cover how the stoppage will be handled. Fusion capacity will likely be taken over by Mustang output so it’s not as if the plant will suddenly stop building cars.

    Beyond this, it’s what flexible plants are supposed to do, build to demand and slow down output as market pull softens. In Europe, customers rarely buy off the lot and usually spec cars to order. In the case of a popular model, this wait can be up to six months. Although Ford has claimed it builds to order around the world, this stoppage says otherwise. Although North American customers might sometimes prefer to buy off the dealer lot (with the requisite discounts of taking a car there and then) I don’t see why NA OEMs don’t switch to strict build-to-order and put an end to excess inventory issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I don’t think you understand the american consumer. When they buy a car they want to go home that night with one. You can still order cars that’s always available and a few people do.

      But, the whole dealers are built around having inventory. Euro dealers will maybe have a few cars to test drive and thats it. These places have huge lots to fill all the cars.

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        Onus, I think it would take a change in mentality, but ultimately the North American market will have to switch to an order-based market. I’ve read a couple of times this year where part buyers have admitted they have – at best – an educated guess covering what will sell in terms of features. That translates to ‘no idea’ and so making one of everything to ensure there’s a car on the dealer lot for every potential buyer is just silly, while also clogging the dealer with cars that no one wants (whether through bad dealer choices or the OEM forcing the dealer to take specific trim levels).

        (I think the Fusion is having other issues related to cars that no one wants that are related to quality, but that’s another matter.)

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        I think the consumer is changing. How many people buy things online and are happy to wait 5+ days to receive their goods in return for a better deal? Uhh, that’s 100% of everybody I know.

        Growing up my father always ordered his vehicles, mostly because he wanted a stripped down version, but I digress. Anyway, it wasn’t a problem aside from the astronomical wait to get that car. And these were domestic cars coming from final assembly only 500-1000 miles away.

        Years ago I bought a Dell computer and their website was very clear where my computer was in assembly, when it would be shipped and when I would have it in my home. If auto manufacturers could match this model, speed up delivery to 2 weeks +/- and provide the same incentives (or more) they could build almost all vehicles to suit.

        Now I’m all for getting rid of the dealer middle man but that’s a bigger battle.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          5 days is a lot shorter than the 4-6 weeks it typically takes to receive a BTO car.

          besides, it only takes about a day and a half to actually build the car; the long wait is because automakers typically have 4 weeks of production already scheduled, so when you enter a special order it has to wait until the next rotation is scheduled.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          I would love a reasonable ordering system. Get my tech laden V8, but with normal sized wheels, no glass roof, and in a color besides Black/Grey/White. Even if my car is dead and I’m waiting, you can usually get a $300-ish/month rental from Avis; same difference as an extra car payment.

          Of course the dealer cabal have no interest in this. An educated consumer that knows what they want can’t be confused/intimidated/blindsided by scammy and scummy stealership snakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      A flexible plant would change their takt time to accommodate the lower volume.

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        I think it would be a combination of physically slowing the whole line and adjusting the takt to accommodate that speed. Though, while that would work in the assembly hall, they’d have to just have more down time in the stamping facility (although it might be producing some parts for other plants), and a proportional adjustment to the numbers being produced in BIW.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “it’s what flexible plants are supposed to do”

      A flexible plant would be able to switch production to a different vehicle.

      The production stoppage is an indication that the plant is NOT flexible.

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        You’ve got it the wrong way around. The plant is considered flexible in that it can adjust total output and has two models on the same line that are produced, as a day-to-day point of business, in varying numbers. That is the definition of a flexible plant. Some plants are even more flexible, building four or even eight models on the same line, although this is usually only in assembly – the bodies would be spread over a greater number of lines and for eight different vehicles there would be two paint lines. All these would b subject to daily changes in single-model output based on orders – or at least they would in most countries. In the US it appears they still keep churning out cars until the market is choked with the things because they build to anticipated demand and not to order.

        Beyond that, Mustang output (on the same line as the Fusion) will probably take up some slack created by Fusion not being built for a week, but as said in another post, the remaining fine adjustment will be made using line speed and takt time.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A line that is suitable for producing only one vehicle is by definition NOT flexible.

          If flipping an on-off switch is the only available remedy for excess production, then the plant is NOT flexible. Work slowdowns, shift reductions and stoppages have been Detroit’s approach for managing excess inventories for decades.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Until they get another product, Flat Rock isn’t as flexible as Ford would like it to be. Taurus/MKS production, and possibly something else will help.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        It produces Mustang and Fusion, PCH. I’m not sure if it has the Ford branded “flexible body shop” but I believe it does. CD4.2 (MkS / Taurus – according to TTAC the next CD4 based Taurus will be China only) will likely be implemented at this plant. Oakville Assy Complex and Flatrock will be sister plants whereas in the past it was OAC and Chicago Assembly Plant.

        Behold B&B, PCH is wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I was aware that the Mustang was built in Flat Rock. My point was that the plant idling is not representative of a flexible plant.

          Reducing output does not equal plant flexibility. Obviously, Ford doesn’t have another model on that line that can take up the slack.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            It is a shared line.

            “A line that is suitable for producing only one vehicle is by definition NOT flexible.

            If flipping an on-off switch is the only available remedy for excess production, then the plant is NOT flexible.”

            I believe you were tricked by either Ford PR’s lack of knowledge of the plant, calling stoppage of the Fusion stopping a ‘line,’ or this is indicative of the Mustang’s volume. I’m way to lazy to look up if the entire plant will be shut down or if it will shift to 100% Mustang volume.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Per Automotive News:

            A Ford spokeswoman confirmed today in an e-mail that the company has scheduled “approximately” one extra week off in December at its Flat Rock, Mich., plant “as we continue to match production with demand.”

            Ford also is shutting its Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit, where the Focus and C-Max are built, for the same duration.
            _______

            http://www.autonews.com/article/20131126/OEM01/131129882/ford-to-idle-fusion-plant-in-michigan-extra-week-in-dec.-to-curb

            Plant flexibility is not the issue here. Excess inventory is.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            You concept of flexibility is still baffling me. Do you believe there is excess demand in any other North American plants? Is it your belief that model lines should be able to ‘hop’ from plant to plant? If this is your belief, there is no flexible OEM final assembly plant in existence. And your understanding of manufacturing is elementary.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            The excess inventory issue is obvious. Which is why I can’t understand your comments above.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The poster “motormouth” is extolling the decision to idle the plant as an example of plant flexibility.

            If this was some virtuous example of plant flexibility, then Ford would be switching the line to some other vehicle that is in demand. But that isn’t happening.

            There’s too much inventory. There’s no other vehicle that can built on the same line to pick up the slack. That’s all there is to this.

            The difference here is in the management philosophy of how one defines too much inventory — in the old days, they probably would have built a lot more of it prior to idling it. The 90 day cutoff is low by domestic standards.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I’m so glad you can admit your terminology of ‘flexible’ was incorrect. you’re taking leaps and bounds in improving how you interact with others on the internet. here’s a cookie.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can show me how flexible plants going idle are representative of flexibility, then I’ll be happy to listen.

            The idea of a flexible plant is to avoid downtime, and that obviously isn’t happening here.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            for god’s sake, Pch, it has nothing to do with “flexibility” and it’s getting irritating the way you keep banging that drum. They’re halting Fusion production at FRAP for that week because output from Hermosillo is enough to cover demand. Nothing clearly says they’re actually idling the whole plant. If they *are,* it wouldn’t surprise me given the Mustang is in its final model year of this generation and demand for it is probably lower at this time of year anyway. Either case, your whinging about “flexibility” is pointless.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Which North American plants are at capacity? Where would this additional volume come from? Have you pondered that the manufacturing network may be over capacity? Is there an entire plant’s worth of output that is not being utilized?

            Overcapacity is not the same as lack of flexibility. You can have as many flexible manufacturing business units as you want but it won’t justify the network.

            Plant flexibility lies in the tooling at the facility. The robots run multiple programs, can accommodate wide and narrow platforms, conveyances can accommodate difference sizes and weights. Final assembly tooling can utilize conveyor sequencing ID’s to run multiple programs, etc. The plant is flexible. Norfolk Assembly Plant was flexible, now it’s a parking lot.

            Your terminology is unclear, misleading and incorrect. You are slowly migrating from a discussion at the plant level to the manufacturing network. Nice. You would like to bad mouth ‘Detroit’ in being stuck in their old ways, but until you can tell me that there is a business case to completely shed overhead that accommodated 1950′s production to one single building producing all models, you’re delusional. There’s limitations in paint process that would inhibit this, alone. A good example: Toyota will have 4 final assembly plants in North America. That doesn’t include their capacity in Japan that is utilized for North American production (6 or 7 in Japan). Ford utilizes 9 (soon to be 8). Until you can armchair quarterback an explanation of where this ‘system’ isn’t flexible in terms of automotive production, you’re just talking yourself into a hole and your attitude won’t let you admit being incorrect. Heaven forbid.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, I responded to the comment “it’s what flexible plants are supposed to do.”

            No, flexible plants aren’t supposed to go idle; they’re supposed to switch to something else for which there is demand. The virtue of flexibility is the ability to avoid downtime.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            As much as you’d like to think that manufacturing is as black and white as you make it to be, it isn’t. There are constraints that eve you aren’t knowledgeable about. You can only facilitate the body construction, paint and final assembly of a vehicle on a particular site to a certain capacity. When you reach that capacity, you build another plant. To make your system flexible, you enable your tooling to accommodate numerous product lines. It takes roughly 6-10 weeks to ‘prove out’ a product in another manufacturing location. There needs to be a business case to move automotive production to another facility.

            You must work at a desk and pick apart legal documents for a living. You do not comprehend simple systems analysis and manufacturing concepts. Stick with picking apart strawman arguments and do the B&B a favor and never comment on manufacturing ever again.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s not a matter of black and white. It’s a matter of plant idling not exmplifying flexibility, when it actually suggests the opposite issue.

            When Honda switches between CR-V and Civic production in order to manage inventories, that’s an example of flexibiity in action. Idling a plant is old-school stuff; it’s what happens when there is too much inventory and no ability to switch to something else.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Now you’re diverting the topic to forecasting. You fail to understand that line rates in a plant can be adjusted. When you don’t properly forecast, your line rates overproduce. So Ford, in this instance, didn’t synchronize it’s labor / rates with demand.

            Flexibility has nothing to do with rate and flow. This is fun.

            You tried to move the flexibility argument from the plant to the system. You’ve tried to correlate flexibility to a over simplified manufacturing system that doesn’t exist, now you’re saying that the oldest form of production control is flexibility. Maynard would be very happy to see that you’re depicting his line balancing concepts as ‘modern.’

          • 0 avatar

            This discussion has been fascinating, and funny. Thanks for the entertainment.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Now that you have moved the conversation from the plant level to the corporate level (what drives order fulfillment), is there any other direction that we could move this discussion so that you can be right about plant flexibility?

            Your original argument should have been this: Ford did not match production to demand. Instead, you picked the wrong approach and placed blame at the plant level, trying to undermine manufacturing systems. There is nothing wrong with the production system, it all lies in the order bank. The plant fulfills orders given to it, just like in most other industries.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t recall any point at which I “placed blame at the plant level.”

            I merely pointed out that the company built too many cars, and that the decision to idle was not an example of plant flexibility in action. Ford has been hyping its Fusion sales just a wee bit, and the excess inventories help to demonstrate that the emperor isn’t quite fully dressed.

            Again, if you can show me how flexible plants going idle are representative of flexibility, then I’ll be happy to listen. Let me know if/ when you can get around to this.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            you’re talking in circles.

            Plant = overhead
            Company = business enterprise

            next time, be more specific when you criticize an organization. You won’t shed misinformation all over this website.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            “If flipping an on-off switch is the only available remedy for excess production, then the plant is NOT flexible”

            If and when you understand the difference between capital and a company, we’ll resume discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Let me understand this: Are you under the impression that idling a plant is proof that the plant in question is benefiting from flexibility?

            Last I checked, the whole point of building flexible plants is to reduce downtime related to inventory management. It isn’t just a theoretical exercise; it’s supposed to improve capacity utilization.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            No, idling a plant is proof that the plant’s flexibility is not being utilized. See my reply to you, below.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “idling a plant is proof that the plant’s flexibility is not being utilized.”

            So you apparently disagree with the poster who asserted that idling is “what flexible plants are supposed to do.”

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Yes and I disagree with you. The plant is a flexible entity.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I hate to break it to you, but you apparently agree with me. My original comment was to note that idling a plant is not indicative of its flexibility, and you have (finally) acknowledged that we are on the same side of that issue.

            It seems fair at this point to reiterate that idling a plant is not particularly desirable. It may be necessary, but it isn’t a brilliant example of good inventory management. Rather, it’s a belated reaction to excess production.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            It took you long enough to clearly define what you meant by saying: “A flexible plant would be able to switch production to a different vehicle.

            The production stoppage is an indication that the plant is NOT flexible.”

            Your persistence in debate in spite of your utter lack of knowledge about manufacturing is astounding.

            Your contention with the original commenter was with the state of the plant. or at least it was taken as this by the original commenter, as it was with me. Once we knew that the Mustang was also ceasing production, you continued to champion that this whole situation is bad in poor terminology even though the original commenter understood the principles of a flexible plant and you were not on the same page as him/her. Motourmouth exemplified this when he stated in another comment that the market needs to be driven to an order based system.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I figured you would be intelligent enough to draw the conclusion that I assumed the plant would shift to Mustang volume and that if it wouldn’t someone screwed up when I typed this:
            “I’m way to lazy to look up if the entire plant will be shut down or if it will shift to 100% Mustang volume.”

            But you had to keep driving your point when you clearly have no knowledge of manufacturing.

        • 0 avatar

          “Behold B&B, PCH is wrong.”

          It wouldn’t be the first time.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            When he is usually beating up on some poor commenter, I don’t know the subject matter so I ignore it. But when he directs his misanthropy at something I know, I’ll gladly correct him in the same manner he is renowned for.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, I’m eager to learn how a plant going idle, instead of switching to a different model, is representative of its flexibility.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            From my experience, plant management will ide a facility when they are going to experience a shut down (for a holiday). When you turn off equipment, you have to go through an extensive start up process to get the equipment back into spec. So when your production ordering process changes and your forecasts are changed abruptly, you match demand by utilizing downtime that is already in place. You extend your labor and energy savings. You do this when you see that your forecast still requires the production jobs per hour you were operating at prior to the order bank closure.

            The plant is being flexible. The ordering process (business unit) however, is not. This could be for a variety of things (launch, planned incentives, expected seasonal volume increases), but it is due to lack of foresight.

            If you read this site any, you would know that dealers are told to order inventory, even when the lots are full. Read up on Baruth’s experiences with dealer principles.

            Flexibility does not correlate to retail forecasting mistakes. You may not have meant it, but you are directing your commentary at the ‘plant’ and this is due to the lack of knowledge you have on the subject.

            I have thoroughly explained tooling, rate and flow / line balancing. Now its time for you to let go of the ‘plant.’ It’s flexible. It’s the entity that directs the inputs for the production system that is not. It would be too easy to line balance a plant on the fly, but Ford would rather save the energy and labor costs. When you do extended shut downs, there are hidden costs (quality, labor / material costs for maintenance).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point remains that Ford does not have another vehicle that it can build in place of the Fusion that will keep the line running.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Does this car get magically pulled out of thin air? Does this car’s launch prove out process come at zero cost? Does it’s demand magically increase so that it won’t affect another plant who is producing the same platform’s operating costs?

            You clearly weren’t comprehending what I have been typing. This has been an exercise in futility.

            You could have all saved us the time by typing this in response to motormouth by saying: “I have no idea what a flexible plant is or any knowledge of manufacturing what-so-ever, but Ford must have made a forecasting mistake.” But you chose to be a manufacturing expert, today. Stick to what you know best.

            This statement tells me you have no knowledge: Work slowdowns, shift reductions and stoppages have been Detroit’s approach for managing excess inventories for decades.

            Ohio and Cuautitlan are the only Final Assembly plants not operating on 3 full shifts. How do you think other manufacturers deal with forecast adjustments? Line balancing. Or in your terms, “work slowdowns.”

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            edit: redirected to correct thread.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @tresmonos

            Not an exercise in futility as others can comprehend what you have posted, but perhaps an exercise in patience.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point remains that Ford apparently didn’t set up the Fusion line with the ability to build a suitable alternative during those times when there are excess Fusion inventories. Sort of defeats the purpose of the flexible plant initiative.

            Ergo, the idle line and the corresponding loss of capacity utilization. This is not the victory for plant flexibility as claimed by “motormouth” above.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            You aren’t knowledgeable of any OEM’s Jobs Per Hour is from any plant, so how can you be so sure that utilization of the plant is comparable to other OEMs?
            You aren’t knowledgeable of simple manufacturing systems.
            You aren’t knowledgeable of the dealer structure or what drives dealer principles to execute orders. TTAC has covered this in depth.

            It seems to me you are merely on this site to disagree with others as you certainly aren’t enriching yourself with knowledge that would have prevented me to morph your original incorrect statement into something legible. ‘Setting up the line’ has nothing to do with this work stoppage. Absolutely nothing. Line rates can be adjusted upon shift start up.

            Why do you keep simplifying this scenario? The plant can build two platforms, one platform that will be shared amongst 4 nameplates.

            Had Ford correctly pegged demand, you would see a more efficient labor rate and no production stoppages. JPH will likely be adjusted if the forecast (what drives the plant) is adjusted.

            One could argue that Ford’s management takes the wrong approach to driving demand for a vehicle (Ford is a company that believes the customer falls in love with the vehicle on the lot, therefore it is prudent to have your entire portfolio at the dealer). One could argue that the dealer principle should have no influence in driving orders. One could argue that there should be no separation between the plant and the demand, that the plant itself can adjust it’s production and ignore what is being piped to it from corporate. One could argue that Ford’s fleet division should not exist and be so aggressive about acquiring fleet sales. You can even say that Ford invested in too much capital since it is line is outpacing demand.

            But no, you take the approach that the line was not set up for a vehicle that doesn’t exist and that it’s capacity must be inferior without any basis for your observation. Not only do you simplify an industry, but you have proven that you have not read anything I have typed.

            Had the orders going to the plant been reduced months ago to align with demand, the plant would have adjusted it’s line rates, likely laid off tier 2 workers to accommodate labor utilization, the body and paint shops would have adjusted their processes and you wouldn’t have anything to be a miserable bastard about.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Here’s what I do understand:

            1. The other poster was incorrect to assert that idling a plant was a sign of success for the flexible production effort

            2. The decision to idle production does not correspond to Ford’s claims that the Fusion is a runaway hit (and there is other data, such as the fleet sales percentages and the incentives being offered that confirm that Ford is overselling the story.)

            3. A flexible plant that can’t be used to produce a suitable alternative when necessary is not achieving the goals of a flexible plant program

            4. You have difficulty seeing the forest from the trees. You’re so much in love with the company that you insist on missing the obvious.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            1. The original poster assumed the Mustang would take place in production. I made the same assumption. We were both wrong, but that doesn’t make the original poster’s assumption that flexible manufacturing could have been applied had the rates been properly forecasted

            2. There is no doubt Ford is overselling the story. Ford actually seeks fleet sales. In manufacturing, I could mess with dealer / customer orders all day long but should I have swapped production units of a fleet, I would have been canned.

            3. Not necessarily. This is an instance where capital was invested in a line rate, but the capital for the line rate is miniscule in comparison to the capital needed to make a plant capable of multiple platforms. In this instance, both platforms demand wasn’t pegged correctly. Ford chooses to extend planned shut downs rather than adjust JPH. This could be for a multitude of reasons, but that’s besides the point. Both you and I know that line stoppages are bad. I know they’re bad for quality reasons. Also, S197 is at the end of its lifespan and there are other activities going on at the facility that you (and now myself) do not know about as we don’t work for Ford. Hence the lack of Mustang production. In this instance, value added retooling processes could be taking place rather than Mustang production. Should there be no reason for Mustangs to be rolling off the line, we could assume that the plant is not being utilized.

            4. (did you not read my criticisms of the company? are you that obtuse?) You would like to think that, nor do you have any knowledge about me that could position you to draw that conclusion, but in this instance you are desperately grabbing at whatever you can to do what you do best on these comment threads. I don’t come and crap on your political or economic related posts by arguing semantics, I suggest you do the same about manufacturing if you like ‘being right.’

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “in this instance you are desperately grabbing at whatever you can to do what you do best on these comment threads.”

            I’m just pointing out that you’re missing the big picture.

            The point of a flex line is to avoid down time. Down time is costly.

            The flex line should be planned so that there are complementary vehicles being built on it, i.e. one that is likely to be needed when there is excess inventory of the other.

            The Fusion and Mustang aren’t particularly complementary. The reason that the plant is going idle is because this is not a particularly good pairing; a reduction in Fusion demand isn’t likely to correspond to an increase in Mustang demand, or vice versa. There apparently isn’t need for more of either of them at this time, and according to Automotive News, you can add the Focus and C-MAX to that list.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            In this instance, the down time is probably more cost effective than running at the JPH they will when they resume production. It’s cheaper to lay off a work force than it is to pay them to make less. Keeping the workforce on is likely due to forecasts of what volumes they are expecting the new Mustang to reach upon launch. Will they be correct? Seeing what we are witnessing here: most likely not. Maybe this is Ford’s PR machine spinning a nice neat story so their union denizens don’t get upset that 10% of their pay is being impacted.

            Also, I see this plant as being the perfect pair to Mustang volume. Keep the plant staffed for a niche market, and utilize the same workforce for overflow from Hermosillo which is still running flat out to produce Fusions. A niche market product will be more susceptible to volume fluctuations. Ideally, you would have overflow from a truck plant, but you would need a separate line for chassis assembly for the frame prior to marriage of the truck body and frame. That would increase your facility footprint, in which Flatrock wouldn’t be able to accommodate such a thing. But like I said earlier, forecasts were incorrect. Plant staffing is probably too high. Decision makers would rather flip the light switch than right size the line rate / staffing. This isn’t the plant level. This is the order bank that gets sent to a separate business entity within an organization. Your generalizations would have everyone here assuming that the manufacturing systems are from the 1950′s. I can assure you that they are not. There are layers of management that probably can be pegged to that era of thinking.

            I outlined many deficiencies (minus their initial quality, issues with MFT and all the other stuff I outlined in my replies to DW) of the corporation in my many replies to you. I am well aware of what is wrong with the company. But that wasn’t the point of contention, here. Your bias can be present, but your emphasis should be on being succinct and correct in order for you to purvey your interests. In this case, your interest was communicating Ford is flawed, whether what you typed was correct or incorrect.

            Ford’s profitability must make that tree (in your proverbial forest) made of gold. I sure hope you picked up some shares of that flawed corporation.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “the down time is probably more cost effective than running at the JPH they will when they resume production.”

            Down time is preferable to excess inventory. But the goal should be to have a line that produces inventory that is needed with a minimal of idle time.

            “I sure hope you picked up some shares of that flawed corporation.”

            During the Great Recession, I commented here about the upside potential of the stock:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/06/ford-death-watch-45-last-man-standing-pt-2/

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/03/ford-buy/

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Quality benefits from continually building to your demand. Principles of Lean.

            The only great debate I have with myself is whether to dump all this stock and go 50% cash in the near term. But that is probably the effects of me listening to politically biased media sources. Enough of this thread.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The answer is to set a trailing stop. Set a level of decline that is acceptable, and sell off if it dips below that point.

            http://www.investopedia.com/articles/trading/03/080603.asp

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Good lord people…its a frickin’ week of down time…with the possibility of a couple more weeks in 2014. Its not like they are mothballing the plant.

            A bigger move would be to drop a shift entirely…which they are not doing. THAT would be a story.

            This plant is the one that used to be shared with Mazda. It appears Ford has plans to make it even more flexible in the future (4 models vs 2)

            At the end of its cycle, it would make sense that Mustang isn’t cranking out max production.

            Fusion in Mexico apparently can crank out 250k units per year. Flat Rock could potentially add another 100k units of Fusion a year if they need it….they apparently don’t need it all. As Ford is tracking over 300k Fusions sold in US/Canada this year after moving about 260k last year , it appears adding capacity to Flat Rock last summer was a fairly smart move.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      This flexible manufacturing highlights a problem. It is clear that flexible manufacturing saves money. However, it also means the same blue collar stupid worker needs to remember how to assemble multiple vehicles during the same work day. Clearly, this results in more mistakes. But, management must have decided they are willing to stick the customer with more quality issues in order to increase EPS. MISTAKE.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @jimmyy….. same blue collar stupid workers”….So can we assume that all blue collar workers are stupid?

        I guess Honda only hires members of Mensa International? Most of your rantings are just idiotic trolling.

        When you start insulting people you don’t even know, you stoop to even lower level.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        jimmyy,
        you are an idiot.

        • 0 avatar

          you took the words right out of my mouth tresmonos.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Normally I would ignore such comments as I would had I overheard the statement in person, but since this is a forum and helpful, knowledgeable people like Mikey frequent the board and may read such garbage, I wanted to publicly state jimmyy’s personal situation to all. And damn is it terrible situation to be in.

            I liked Mikey’s reference to Mensa International.

          • 0 avatar

            you’re absolutely right about that. I chimed in exactly because of Mikey who provides invaluable insight into this industry that I’m deeply interested in. The manufacturing side, and the people in it, are too valuable to lose to some mean-spirited, baseless commment from somebody with little to contribute.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Thanks folks. I lurk, more than I comment these days. The idiots,garbage just spun me the wrong way today.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          Idiot? I don’t think so. For many years, I have been pulling down a 7 figure income because people what to hear what I have to say … and they frequently follow my advice. A few of these people have 8 figure incomes.

          What was your income last year? Has anyone with an 8 figure income asked you for advice? I did not think so.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            ROFL. As if someone with a “7 figure income” would bother trolling car blogs. Hell, someone with a “7 figure income” probably wouldn’t even have the time.

            admit it, dude, you’re not even out of high school yet.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        You guys are too sensitive. To survive on wall street, you would need thick skin.

        I have a strong east coast and west coast customer perspective which I notice Midwest types don’t get. Sorry for ruffling any feathers.

        Enjoy Thanksgiving with your families.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Brother, you just called a bunch of people stupid. You give an insincere apology and try to use something you used in getting your MBA to prove you’re “strong leader” and “has a common touch with production employees”. You mention all your oh so important east and west coast clients in a lame attempt to impress us. Your were called a loser and got the shit beat out of you in high school and are still a loser today. The sad thing is responsible executives have to trail behind you and clean up the trail of toxic sludge of your morality that stains everything and everyone. You can kiss my flat white ass. Any questions what I think of you?

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            My posts are targeting the executives of Detroit who just don’t understand why, outside of fleets, their garbage just does not sell on the coasts. My goal is very specific, and I plan to continue on. Having lived on both coasts for many years, I know so few purchase Detroit products. You would be amazed how few Detroit vehicles exist in the areas I live in, and I know why. I am hoping some executive(s) figures it out and actually saves Detroit from collapse. Currently, Detroit has and continues to be propped up by a government.

            Along the way, if insignificant people get their feathers ruffled who cares. Most posters here have valuable comments, but there are a few people that are useless distraction.

            And, who gives a darn what some UAW worker thinks. Overpaying blue collar labor is a big reason Detroit is a disaster. If I offended UAW workers who helped ruined Detroit, great. They ruined a once great industry, and that ruined the lives of a few of my siblings in the Detroit area. They were once auto workers who now struggle to survive, and they are too proud to take a handout from a wall street guy. Yes sir, I have an ax to grind with the arrogant UAW worker.

            Finally, shame on all of you who resort to name calling. That type of attitude will hold you back in life.

          • 0 avatar
            Loser

            Well said el scotto!

          • 0 avatar
            Loser

            “Finally, shame on all of you who resort to name calling. That type of attitude will hold you back in life”

            Dude, do you have a clue at all? You just called the blue collar workers “stupid”, constantly make disparaging remarks about people that live in the mid-west and/or drive “Detroit” cars. You have the nerve to criticize the Detroit bailout while bragging about how you work on Wall Street. Do you not see what a hypocrite you are?

            “Overpaying blue collar labor is a big reason Detroit is a disaster. If I offended UAW workers who helped ruined Detroit, great. They ruined a once great industry, and that ruined the lives of a few of my siblings in the Detroit”

            Let me fix your above quote;

            Overpaying white collar workers and Wall Street greed are big reason America is a disaster. If I offended Wall Street workers who helped ruined America, great. They ruined a once great country and ruined the lives of countless Americans.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I believe CR told subscribers to avoid the Fusion for the first year or two because of the poor assembly they witnessed – which they remarked as unusual even for a new model – and to wait for the discounts to come.

    Since then we have learned the Fusion gets relatively poor grades for performance and economy vis a vis the competition. Even the Hybrid is 2nd tier compared to the Accord. I suspect it won’t be long until we read that Fusion sales are back to 30% fleet, not that they have fallen very far as a %.

    I also read that Toyota execs say the Accord is taking Camry sales, not the Fusion.

    Were the Fusion’s tight initial inventories really the result of consumer demand or a poor launch? Prior to the new model the Fusion was 4th place in sales. And the “game-changer” is ……. 4th place in sales.

    • 0 avatar

      What you are talking about? You got things reversed. 2013 Fusion is in CR recommended list and Toyota Camry is NOT in CR recommended list. They do not recommend Accord V6 too.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Actually, that’s almost a direct quote from their review.

        Both Accords are rated above the Fusions as they tested much better. The Fusion 1.6 for quality reasons is not recommended and the Accord V6 apparently because of its infotainment system.

        • 0 avatar

          I doubt that. I agree on 1.6L Fusion, but 1.6L engine is dropped in favor of 1.5L. But 4-cylinder Accord has black dot on “Audio system” and still is recommended. So it not an infotainment system – it cannot be worse than black dot. They say that Accord V6 and coupe are not recommended because their reliability are below average whatever that means. I guess they share the same engine and AT so and it may be V6 engine or transmission issues. These kind of statements make CR is kind of useless – they should explicitly rate every model separately otherwise whats the point. I prefer hard data to CR recommendation. If it is the engine or transmission it is a serious issue. Audio system is not a big deal – car is not a home theater.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            The touch-screen infotainment system is standard on all V6 Accords. The system has proven somewhat troublesome, with static, crashes and Bluetooth integration failures (and is difficult to use, in CR’s opinion, but with the exception of a couple features, XM tuning chief among them, is easy to grasp after an RTFM session). (My Accord Touring Sedan, produced in February, 2013, doesn’t have any problems of that nature, though it could produce better sound for a “premium” system.)

            There have also been a few sporadic oil-leak issues. (This was not mentioned in the CR write-up.)

            All of these problems have been addressed by TSBs; at the risk of sounding like a fanboi, I was a little miffed that CR dinged the Accord for these infotainment issues.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I just read on Business Insider that Fusion is the #1 selling vehicle in Michigan. But, where I live, which is in Orange County, CA, NYC, and Boston, only a few exist, and those often have the familiar bar code. Looks like, with the exception of pickup trucks, Ford has gone from a national contender to a regional player whose main market is the Midwest. Why? Reliability. Have you seen Consumer Reports? They almost control last place. My friends, that is a resale value killer. That is why Toyota and Honda are so popular in high end east coast and west coast zip codes … resale value is important to the financially savvy.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Also, a second problem dogs the Fusion … the rear seat problem. It seems to me that rear seat measurements in vehicle specifications seem to indicate the Fusion, Accord, and Camry are the same. However, there is some creative deception in those numbers. When I tried those rear seats with the front seat most of the way back, it is clear the Camry and Accord have much more room that the Fusion. That is a huge problem for a family sedan. Furthermore, the Fusion rear seat was uncomfortable due to an odd position I found myself in … almost like the low slung roof line resulted in Ford engineers employing an unusual seating position. Another deal killer for the Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        You see, all you dopes, jimmyyyyy was right. The Fusion is a failure just as he said. Look they even had to cut production so as not to make more than the 400K that they can sell. Its a piece of junk. Total trash. Hell, even the Citation sold 400K in its second year. And annual sales were less then, too. Further proof it is a failure. Buy a Camry, that’s the car that hits the (thorn)mark. Fusion, please what a POS.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          The Fusion is a good car that’s class competitive…

          …there, I’ve said it again…

          …when it’s not in the dealership service bay for repairs, where it resides more frequently than any of its competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      Just to inject a little reality into the Jimmy99′s normal shill, Honda’s remain popular here in DC metro, mainly because of the new CR-V and because they quickly fixed the Accord and Civic decontenting issue; the newest version a legit contenders for best in value and near the top for best in class (Mazda6 Mazda3 win best in class).

      Toyota is a dead brand walking, no body wants them. The rebates have hit Mopar grade levels. Consumer Reports and Highway Safety Institue’s latest tests have killed them. The only reason they sell is rebates.

      Ford’s get love here, but it’s C-Max, Focus, and Fiesta. Fusions around here are all Avis grade.

      Nissan Versas, Sentras and Rogues are beloved, not so much the Altima or anything trucky.

      I exists as a singular point of reference for non-Jeep Chryslers in DC metro. Dodge’s around here have light bars and Thrifty bar codes.

      Hyundai/Kia is rental grade, or poor college kid grade. Some of their crossovers, very few of their cars.

      GM has the lock on DC metro. But that’s because I’m convinvced the federal government is the single largest purchaser of Tahoe’s and Suburbans. Every black Tahoe/Suburban around here has GSA plates.

      From the Capitol Wasteland, we like inexpensive but reliable. Pretty much any Honda, Ford Focus, Nissan Versa, Nissan Rogue, and a fleet of black Suburbans is our daily grind.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        surprises me about the Versa. the one I drove in Nashville (Nissan country) was the cheapest, most miserable griefbox I’ve been in in quite some time. And I’ve driven Calibers…

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Why is your DC Metro report any more real than his Boston/LA reports? Hint: What your biased eyes see has practically nothing to do with how the vehicle is doing. It could be looking for barcodes every time you see a Fusion and proclaiming victory every time you do find a barcode or saying Toyota is a dead brand walking when the CR ‘recommended’ tag was stripped from the Camry and Rav just earlier this month and Toyota is one of the 3 best selling brands in the country. Anecdotes mean nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          I walk past the lot where DCA rental companies store their cars daily for the past couple years. After a while it’s clear what’s in inventory for Avis/Enterprise/Thrifty. a LOT of Toyota’s have joined the fleet in the last year or two. The older Focus’ have cycled out and have been replaced with Hyundai’s and Toyota’s. Obviously lots of Mopars, nothing new there.

          As for meaning, I know what people in my circle of friends and co-workers have been buying. It’s Hondas, small Fords, and non-Altima Nissans. They’ve been getting out of their Camry’s, RAV4′s, and Altimas. Perhaps circumstantial, but what I see daily on the roads and parking lots seems to confirm that.

  • avatar
    wmba

    There have been two attempts at grand automotive bragadoccio in recent months, neither of which seem to have really been caught by TTAC.

    GM swore that the new 2014 pickups were so popular that they were having trouble sourcing enough parts for the 5.3 V8, restricting production.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/gm-to-constrain-dealer-orders-of-brand-new-silverado-sierra-pickups-due-to-supplier-issues-affecting-5-3-l-v8-production/

    Four days later, GM mysteriously had way too much inventory of the new pickups and offered incentives

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/gm-offers-incentives-on-newly-introduced-pickups-were-they-priced-to-high-to-begin-with/

    Those two posts really made me wonder about GM. The left hand not knowing what the right hand was up to.

    Then Ford let us know that the Fusion was so popular, the supply from Hermosillo was so constrained, why, they’d just have to open Flat Rock and knock out a zillion more to satisfy pent-up demand.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/ford-gearing-up-for-400000-fusions-in-2014/

    More PR was expended later in November to bolster this wonderful Ford optimism, duly reported by TTAC staff.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/ford-fusion-rides-coastal-wave-to-sales-success/

    And, of course, this post here tells us that Ford is at overcapacity on Fusion, so they’re going to idle the Flat Rock plant. This in a bull sales market, so, of course, it’s not Ford’s fault, why no, those darn Asians are giving away Camrys and distorting Ford’s grand plans – so unfair.

    Utter unmitigated bulls**t on both GM and Ford’s parts. Boast, boast, boast. Crash.

    It’s hard to find straight analysis on ANYthing these days. Everyone has some kind of agenda, hidden or otherwise, and you can be sure that the opposite of reality is spouted by feckless PR minions everywhere. Pure obfuscation and chest-puffing abounds, and it’s getting worse.

    One would hope that TTAC and its staff robo-aggregators could take a minute or two to give some thought to the content they are busily rewriting (badly in a lot of cases with a distinct lack of grammar skills), but apparently it’s in one ear and out the other. We get zero analysis from folks who don’t really know the industry at all, and admitting it (Caroline).

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      TTAC’s expectation that the Silverado should have no incentives was unreasonable. Silverado incentives are low by industry standards, and truck buyers expect to get some sort of cash back offer as a matter of course.

      On the other hand, Ford really is spinning the Fusion story. For a car that is supposedly so overwhelmingly popular, it has incentives comparable to its rivals and higher fleet percentages, which both suggest otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I completely agree.

      I mentioned this point in another thread, and specifically informed Ronnie that it appears that the TTACstaff bot is essentially scanning headlines (if that’s in fact the case; for all I know the TTACstaff bot is a rotating roster of TTAC writers/editors, etc.) from MSM sources in a blind aggregation method, and then regurgitating whatever it is another source has reported, verbatim.

      Of course, the virtue of TTAC is the resources it possesses in the form of carbon based life forms, who can read between the headlines of what other publications and sources are reporting, which is often just a copy & paste of what the manufacturer is claiming, and which is often very misleading, crossing into puffery or even deception at times.

      • 0 avatar

        Our staff bots are all fairly well versed in the auto industry, but it is impossible to have them all with expert knowledge of design, engineering, manufacturing, wholesale and retail. We feel that we can let the commenters read between the lines and share their own conclusions on many of the daily news items. Often times, they have a strong grasp of the story in a way that myself and others dont (see: tresmonos and mikey when it comes to manufacturing for a good example of this).

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Your arguments get a giant hole punched in them when you factor in future product plans. Gear up complexity for platform sharing to facilities that retooling won’t cause disruptions in production (I.e. tooling up Flatrock for CD4 versus CAP).

      The PR spin on this is just boasting to shareholders.

      Hermosillo was running flat out prior to retooling for CD4. CD4 launched and board members, everyone predicted the new platform would sell like hot cakes. Botched launches, initial quality, brand loyalty all played out and here we are. You are still jumping to conclusions about whether the capital was a mistake or not (see my comment above).

      I’m getting zero analysis from you, wmba. Now go sit in the corner with Caroline. I get more automotive facts from Disney’s ‘Cars’ than you.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Once, I thought Ford was deceptively pumping the Fusion supply story, and I thought that was unsettling. But, then I realized Ford was not being deceptive. In fact, I think Ford management actually believed an average vehicle with rock bottom reliability could become the segment sales leader. I came to this conclusion by looking at where they spent their investment dollars. They added additonal Fusion capacity. Ford management was not being deceptive. It is worse than that. They are delusional.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I know a young Air Force couple that was looking to buy a new car. They shopped all around, looked at all brands, including the Fusion. They just recently ended up buying a 2013 Camry LE 4-banger, dirt cheap. A similarly equipped Fusion would have cost them around $24K. The Camry around $22K.

        Plus, the financing through TMFC was an even better deal than through the local Credit Union. FMCC offered similar financing but the Fusion was ~$2K more expensive to begin with than the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        You have to look at their history. The Falcon was junk but outsold the superior Valiant for the better part of a decade. The Maverick and Granada were junk – rebodied Falcons – but sold extremely well initially.

        And the Pinto and the original Explorer – junk but masterfully marketed. All became segment leaders.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Typical Ford. Blame someone else.

    Could it be that the Fusion just isn’t thatgood? It’s successful at being extremely mediocre.

    And it won’t age well with styling that was thought up over twenty years ago then stolen. Time to be original Ford and not a compl complete follower.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    This the best thing I’ve read in a long freaking time. We’ve heard these clowns and their die hard supporters tell us that the Fusion is better than sex and that they have people knocking down the dealer doors begging for their money to be taken. They brag about how they’re going to sell over 400,000 a year and how the Camry is going down the drain. They claim they have no fleet sales or incentives.

    In the past 3 months, there have been numerous Camry vs. Fusion articles here on TTAC about how the Camry is apparently the biggest pile of excrement to ever walk the Earth and how it should die a firey, quick, painful death and that those that buy them are scum of the Earth, while the red-hot game-changing Ford Fusion is about to clean its clock.

    Now, we hear that the Game-changer is losing at its own game and is now being a sore loser by now blaming the other player. And hardly ANYBODY here sees a problem with this and is unwilling to call out the utter BS over it? That’s it, Toyota better put out a press release tomorrow saying the Tundra would sell better if Ferd didn’t fleet the hell out of their trucks, call everything they build an “F-series”, and stack cash on the hood by the hour.

    Just wow.

  • avatar
    RS

    Shutdowns…high incentives… Is the auto industry slowdown beginning?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I don’t see it as a slow down. Sales and SAAR are both up. To me it appears that the people actually buying/leasing new cars are favoring cars from certain automakers over those from others.

      In the midsize segment it looks to me like more people are choosing Camry over Fusion.

      Ford is controlling output with this halt so that Ford will not be stuck with unsold new-stock. They’re matching output to demand for their Fusion.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    This the best thing I’ve read in a long freaking time. We’ve heard these clowns and their die hard supporters tell us that the Fusion is better than sex and that they have people knocking down the dealer doors begging for their money to be taken. They brag about how they’re going to sell over 400,000 a year and how the Camry is going down the drain. They claim they have no fleet sales or incentives.

    In the past 3 months, there have been numerous Camry vs. Fusion articles here on TTAC about how the Camry is apparently the biggest pile of excrement to ever walk the Earth and how it should die a firey, quick, painful death and that those that buy them are scum of the Earth, while the red-hot game-changing Ford Fusion is about to clean its clock.

    Now, we hear that the Game-changer is losing at its own game and is now being a sore loser by now blaming the other player. And hardly ANYBODY here sees a problem with this and is unwilling to call out the utter BS over it? That’s it, Toyota better put out a press release tomorrow saying the Tundra would sell better if Ferd didn’t fleet the hell out of their trucks, call everything they build an “F-series”, and stack cash on the hood by the hour.

    Just wow.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      In all fairness, Ford has come a long way. Just not far enough to be up with the likes of Camry, Accord, Altima, Sonata and Legacy.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        They have come a long way. So has GM. I’d have no problem with them if they still weren’t doing the blame game that seemingly originated in Detroit. And I’d probably care even less if I didn’t have to read an article every week about how this car supposedly killed the Camry. For a dead car, the Camry sure is causing so much angst…

        This claim that they have to shut down production at their plant because of what a competitor is doing is the biggest cop out I’ve seen yet from Detroit. Totally beats Bob Lutz’s “the gubment made me kill Pontiac” hearsay.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          This is what’s causing all the increased Camry sales. They really are selling them dirt cheap!

          http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013/11/toyota-plans-updated-camry-next-year.html#more

          It is having an affect on Fusion sales — that would be my guess.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            They’re really not that “dirt cheap”. Certainly not in my area. I can get 0% financing or $1000 cash back on a 2014 Camry.

            But then I can get the same 0% financing or $1500 cash back on a 2014 Fusion. On top of that I can get another $1000 cash back if I trade in a competitor’s car. And I can lease a Fusion for the same monthly payment as a Camry ($199/month) but with less money down ($2528 for the Fusion, $2999 Camry)

            Attractive deal? Sure. But Toyota isn’t giving them away, and if they were, I’d certainly be buying one.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Initially I thought that my young friends had bought a 2013 Camry LE, but he told me it was a 2014 model although there will not be any changes between the 2013 and the 2014 model. The MSRP sticker does not list what model year the car is but the dealer paperwork does.

            And they got the same deal that you wrote about, the $1K off, 2-year free maintenance and oil changes, etc. All the same.

            But in MY area, where Camry normally sells for more than MSRP, ~$22K is dirt cheap!

            A similarly equipped Fusion is about $2K higher in my area than the Camry, I have been told.

            I don’t know all the particulars about the deal but I do know that he got 0% financing through TMFC AND he got money off for being military. He financed $20K, a nice round figure, well within his budget.

            If I were you, looking to buy a new Camry, I’d wait for the 2015 model and then arrange financing on your best terms. Were I in the market, I’d opt for the Avalon. But that’s me.

            I’m not in the market for one and it irks me that when people my age want to finance anything, the lenders ALWAYS tag us with term life insurance and a higher APR than, say, younger people.

            I’ve brought this gripe up before because it is a sensitive subject among old people who talk among themselves.

            I guess the threat of old people dying before the loan is repaid scares the hell out of the lenders.

      • 0 avatar

        Funny how that works isn’t it, HDC? I’d take a Fusion any day of the week over any of the cars you mention. To me it’s that those cars you mention are just not far along to make me want them over a Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Hey Marcelo! Yes, we each have our preferences, and that’s what makes the world go ’round.

          I’m not in the market for a midsize sedan myself but I recently helped a young Air Force couple at my church to see what’s out there.

          They looked at all of them in this class and ended up going home with a Camry LE for ~$22K. That’s hard to beat with all the equipment that was included.

          • 0 avatar

            no doubt, HDC! Toyota is playing hardball and are feeling the heat from the Fusion. You can bet that part of the rationale is to get as many people as far away from a Fusion as possible because many will like it. It’ll be interesting when the new Camry rolls around if Toyota will continue with this policy. If they do, they will be going in for the kill and indicate that they do “fear” the Fusion. If they charge “normal” prices. it’ll be an indication that they believe they have nothing to fear. It’ll be interesting.

            Anyways all this competition can only be good for the consumer.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I agree that it is good for the customer.

            I have nothing against the Fusion and have no personal experience with it.

            But ultimately what matters is sales. Sales are what makes money for any manufacturer. That translates to demand.

            The fact that Ford has to reel in production at a plant (even for a week) that was opened specifically to meet the anticipated demand for the Fusion says to me that Ford made a major financial commitment in the hopes that the Fusion would sell better (in the US).

            But in the end, Ford can always stop production in Mexico and dedicate this plant in the US to the sole production of the Fusion.

            And they may be doing that. I don’t know. Ford may even switch production in Mexico to a line of vehicles sold solely in Central and South America.

            IOW, this may just be the roll-in of future production plans. I don’t know, but production for and in Brazil figures prominently in strategy these days.

          • 0 avatar

            And well it should HDC! From what I hear, the Fusion is still a hot seller here and Ford actually underestimated demand. Seems like if you buy one today it’ll take from a month or 2 to actually get it.

            But it’s a very expensive car here, sales are not in such high numbers, but Ford should be using the opportunity to crowd others out of the market. Both Accord and Camry sell in miniscule numbers here. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Camry. The Altima is being introduced now and the Sonata sold relatively well but is now losing steam. Here the Azera is conisdered more of a direct competitor to the Fusion and actually outsold it before the new Aston Martin look.

            You guys are very fortunate. For 22k we can basically get a top pf the line Logan. Or Fiat Punto. Not even a Focus…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, I have noticed that as well in my travels around the world, both during my military service and afterwards.

            Pricing strategies and marketing-level for many cars differ from region to region, and in some cases from country to country.

            In Portugal, for instance, my paternal family never could afford a car of their own because of the high import duties and extravagant annual license and registration fees. So they rented whenever they needed a car for vacation.

            My maternal family in Germany all had at least ONE car in the household, in spite of the heavy taxation, registration and fuel costs.

            Yes, we in America are VERY fortunate in that we have a CHOICE as to what we are allowed to buy, and that pricing is closely aligned through competition among the manufacturers.

            In my area, Reg Unl costs $2.89 a gallon, Premium $3.09. And we can go a lot farther than we used to on a gallon of gas these days.

            I often wonder how many of the self-styled critics on ttac have actually traveled the world to gain an understanding of how cheap our automotive transportation is, compared to much of the world.

            Then again, for them, maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, my comment is awaiting moderation. Have no idea why.

            The ttac wordpress monster has struck again and my comment has disappeared into the great server void.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Oh HO! BOTH my comments are awaiting moderation…..

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Marcelo, no offense, but what you see and hear in Brasil has absolute zero to do with the US midsize market. Toyota might not be huge there, but they are one of the biggest 3 brands here and a lot of butts go into the seats of Camrys here. The car was practically tailor made for the US market. The US doesn’t look at the midsize segment as luxurious or sporty because a middle class family can pretty easily afford an actual luxury car (BMW, Merc, Audi, Lexus). My mother in law bought a new RX350 a few years ago and is simply wasn’t a big deal. Choosing a Fusion or Camry isn’t something done with passion or to show status. It is about reliability, fuel economy, and comfort (ride and space). Fusions selling well in Brasil, to the near upper class there, has basically nothing to do with the Fusion inventory being high supposedly because of Toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          I was just reading about Fiat. In Europe Fiat is considered 2nd tier and even in Italy people shun their shoddy products but in places like Brazil Fiat is a sales leader.

          Here the Fusion is a fleet/rental car more than just about any car in its class, something like 6x Camry and 30x Accord.

          In Connecticut I have yet to see one that was actually bought by a retail customer although they must exist. Seems they all have bar codes.

  • avatar
    CoffeeLover

    Well, I finally got through all the comments, both on and off topic.

    1. If this extra week of shutdown is attached to the Holiday downweek in December, then it was scheduled at that time to allow tooling work which could not be completed over the Holiday break. This is not denying the oversupply of inventory, just thinking about why they have waited until December to do it.

    2. Can anyone here spell R E L A U N C H? Because the Flat Rock plant builds a different mix of vehicle than Hermosillo, they may need to re-sequence some operations and rearrange some tooling and parts supply locations compared to how it was set up in Mexico. There may be more to this than oversupply. A relaunch is undertaken to address assembly plant quality issues, which can be unrelated to worker attention and effort. For example if the vehicle is not presented to the worker at the correct height, some jobs cannot be consistently accomplished.

    3. @jimmyy or whatever your screen name is, you would not last one shift on the assembly line. You have no respect for the mental and physical toughness required. No wonder your siblings won’t take your money along with your condescension.


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