Ford to resume F-150, Super Duty production

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Production of the Ford F-Series Super Duty, a larger version of the F-150 pickup whose production at a plant in Louisville, Kentuckywas also impacted, is slated to restart on Monday as well, the company said Wednesday.

The May 2 explosion and fire at the Chinese-owned Meridian Magnesium Products plant in Eaton Rapids, Mich., disrupted output for Ford and several other automakers, including General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz.

The company expects production to be in full force at both plants by the end of the day Monday, a spokesperson confirmed.

With F-Series inventory of more than 80 days, Ford dealers have not seen a big drop in the number of pickups in stock while production was stopped.

The F-150 is a key profit generator for Ford.

Investors have already been anxious that Ford is behind the curve in cost management and new age technologies which include autonomously controlled vehicles.

The teams removed 19 dies from Meridian's badly damaged facility, and in one case, moved an 87,000 lb die from Meridian's plant, to Nottingham, U.K., via an Antonov cargo plane - one of the largest in the world - in just 30 hours door-to-door.

In Kansas City and Dearborn, the company is looking at shortening its traditionally scheduled two-week shutdown period in July to one week so that more F-150s can roll off the line.

"Faced with unexpected adversity, the Ford team, including our global supply partners, showed unbelievable resiliency, turning a devastating event into a shining example of teamwork", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president of Product Development and Purchasing.

When the team removed the die from the Eaton Rapids factory, it was shipped to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. In between, the Ford team received a United Kingdom import license for the die - two hours before the plane touched down. The Eaton Rapids plant is producing truck parts again.

Reuters noted the F-150 full-size pickup generated US$41bn in revenue for Ford a year ago, about 28% of total sales and the majority share of its profits.

The production hiccup will cost Ford 12 cents to 14 cents per share in the second quarter.