By on May 13, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 , Image: Ford

After a fire that rocked Meridian Magnesium Products of America’s ability to effectively supply automakers, Ford and a handful of other automakers found themselves in trouble. The Blue Oval had arguably the most to lose with its cash cow F-Series trucks seeing production idled for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, there is a ray of hope shining through the fog.

Numerous sources are claiming assembly could resume on the F-150 by this Friday. Previous estimates had Ford’s truck production being stalled for weeks. However plants in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City, Missouri, are believed to resume operations by May 18th. Unfortunately, Ford’s Super Duty pickups at its Louisville truck plant won’t be getting the same treatment. Production for that facility is to remain stalled indefinitely. 

It’s still good news for the F-150, however. According to Automotive News, Ford worked out a deal with Meridian to supply enough engine cradles, front-end carriers, instrument panel crossbar beams, liftgate structures and radiator supports for most-popular model. But the Super Duty will have to wait until the supply line can be fully restored.

Ford executives had been worried that company’s quarterly earnings could be affected by the idled truck assembly, but recently reaffirmed its full-year earnings estimate. Presumably, the Super Duty trucks can tap into the company’s pickup surplus and make up for lost time once production resumes.

Other automakers are suffering from supply shortages after the fire at Meridian’s Eaton Rapids factory too. Mercedes-Benz stalled production at its factory in Vance, Alabama, last week, while General Motors did the same for Wentzville Assembly in Missouri. BMW and Fiat Chrysler were also affected by fire, but claimed they could adjust production schedules to avoid a total shutdown. Mercedes has since stated that its factory would resume SUV assembly on modified schedule later this week. But there have been no updates on the other facilities.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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7 Comments on “Ford F-Series Production Could Resume Sooner Than Expected...”

  • avatar

    Are margins so thin that having alternate sources of parts costs too much? I realize a lot of smaller auto suppliers have gone out of business, but multiple auto companies depending on the same supplier, using the same plant, looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar

      I too am puzzled by the apparent single source for these parts. However, I vaguely remember reading that there are few-to-one suppliers capable of providing magnesium castings like these, so perhaps it’s not so surprising.

      • 0 avatar

        It isn’t just the magnesium casings. Not too long ago Lear was thinking of throwing in the towel and voluntarily closing shop due to financial pressures. The entire industry jumped in to help, and fast.

        The auto-industry crash of 2008/2009 and subsequent selective bailouts caused many a supplier of the past to go the way of the dodo bird.

        A real shame.

        Good, reliable, consistent-quality suppliers are really hard to find after 2009.

        And any unforeseen circumstance, like a fire or unreliable airbag propellant, can cause a major hiccup in the “Just-In-Time” supply line.

  • avatar

    Single sourcing is very common for unique parts. Otherwise you have to qualify more than one part, pay for two lots of tooling, and then pay for two production lines to work at half speed. Multiple sources are only used for commodity parts (not many of those), or where the lead supplier is volume constrained.

  • avatar

    Somewhere a dingo just got kicked. But I’m sure Fleet and base truck orders will get shuffled to the bottom of the stack, combined with slightly reduced incentives, I don’t really see a problem here.

  • avatar

    Let’s see, 800K trucks a year at about… wow, CarGurus says the average price of a 2018 F150 was $55K.

    $44B a year…
    $120M a day….
    $5M an hour….
    $84K a minute!!!

    For that kind of money they might as well make the parts themselves. Especially factoring in margins….

    • 0 avatar

      Given that the casting plant is right there in Michigan, I’m sure these folks got more “help” from the Ford boys and girls than they ever dreamed possible.

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