Ford Temporarily Shuts Down Mustang Production To Decrease Inventory Before Winter Doldrums

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
ford temporarily shuts down mustang production to decrease inventory before winter

Update: Added official statement from Ford.

Ford Motor Company is briefly shutting down production of the Ford Mustang at the car’s Flat Rock, Michigan, factory in a quest to avoid ballooning inventory ahead of the winter months, Bloomberg reports.

Year-over-year, U.S. sales of the Ford Mustang tumbled 32 percent in September 2016 in response to rapidly elevating incentives on the Chevrolet Camaro. As the Camaro outsold the Mustang for the first time since October 2014, Mustang sales fell to a 23-month low, causing inventory at the end of September 2016 to rise to an 89-day supply, up from 71 days of supply one month earlier.

The temporary idling at Ford’s Flat Rock facility will allow Ford to bring U.S. Mustang inventory down to more appropriate levels. 60 days of inventory is considered normal.

Traditionally, Ford gleans only 45 percent of the company’s annual Mustang volume over the October-March period, as sales in northern climes dwindle during winter months. Thus, an 89-day supply heading into October is much more troubling than it would be heading into April.

Ford expected Mustang sales to decrease somewhat in calendar year 2016 as 2015’s eight-year high was partly the result of pent-up demand and excitement for the all-new sixth-generation Mustang.

One year later, after sliding 6 percent through the first seven months of 2016, Mustang volume took a 17-percent dive in August before the Mustang lost 3,027 sales in September.

Ford Motor Company’s quick October response to excessive supply stands in stark contrast to GM’s strategy with the Camaro. Chevrolet tripled Camaro incentives from August to September after Camaro inventory had exploded to a 139-day supply at August’s end, but the U.S. sales results of that MY2016 clearout weren’t exactly explosive.

Year-over-year, GM’s pony car posted a 25-percent improvement, but the Chevrolet Camaro only outsold the Ford Mustang (which saw incentives decrease about 10 percent in September) by only 148 units last month.

By no means was September’s Camaro performance successful in dramatically reducing Camaro supply. At month’s end, Chevrolet still had 120 days of Camaro supply, more than double the industry norm.

GM is on track to sell around 70,000 Camaros in the United States in 2016, which would become the lowest-volume year for the nameplate since the fifth-gen’s abbreviated introductory year of 2009.

Ford is still on track to sell more than 110,000 Mustangs in 2016. Prior to 2015, Ford hadn’t crested the 100K marker since 2007.

Mustang production will begin anew on Monday, October 17. “We continue to match production with demand,” Ford’s Kelli Felker told TTAC this morning. “Mustang remains the top seller in its segment in total and retail sales.”

[Image: Ford]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Kosmo Kosmo on Oct 12, 2016

    Shutdown? They don't need no stinking shutdown! They need a Mustang Sportwagon model!

  • EBFlex EBFlex on Oct 12, 2016

    "Ford gleans only 45 percent of the company’s annual Mustang volume over the October-March period, as sales in northern climes dwindle during winter months." Or, to put it another way,: Ford gleans nearly half of the company’s annual Mustang volume over the October-March period, as sales in northern climates dip slightly during winter months. What is funny though is the Mustang is being sold in many, many new markets across the globe. You'd think that would be enough to keep the factory moving. I guess the Mustang really is a dud.

  • Dave M. On one hand Honda tends to make a strong, competitive product that should give you years of excellent service. On the other hand it's built on the bones of a GM product, who has a tendency to underbake their products until right before cancellation. NUMMI worked out well for GM; I wonder if this will work out well for Honda....
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  • RICHARD @el_scotto above
  • RICHARD @SPPP. It's the perfect use case. Most of my wife's driving is short trips around town. The car will get better MPG in that environment than interstate cruising.
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