Why Ford Has Stopped Production of America's Best-Selling Pickup

General Motors shut down production of its full-size van in Wentzville Missouri due to the Meridian fire

The truck side of the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri shut down this week because of the parts shortage caused by the fire, sending about 3,600 workers home, Felker confirmed.

Earlier this week, the United Auto Workers union warned workers who assemble the F-150 at the Dearborn truck plant that production could be stopped later this week.

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

Sources in the auto industry say privately they expect the factories will be closed for "several weeks". The Detroit News reports that Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and BMW have also had to suspend production of some vehicles thanks to the large factory fire. By the time the fire was extinguished, Meridian's facility was significantly damaged, preventing the company from stamping any new chassis components for the Ford F-Series lineup.

Ford said it is working with its supply base to offset the impact, but it acknowledges the shortage of die-cast components is a big blow.

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The Meridian plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, also supplies other automakers, but it's not clear yet how wide the impact will be.

As production is hobbled, Ford could face a shortage for its best-selling and most profitable truck. It's the best selling vehicle in the country, and now that Ford is in the middle of an $11 billion cost-cutting initiative, shutting down the F-150 plants a devastating blow.

Ford's top of the line Super Duty pickup truck now comes in just shy of $100,000. The company said they had canceled "production shifts in certain areas and adjusted production hours" while they "continue to assess the situation". A two-week production halt for the F-series could slice as much as $310 million from Ford's second-quarter profits, Buck Research analyst Joseph Amaturo wrote in a note Wednesday.

Demand for the F-150 has been so strong that the automaker could be unable to recover lost sales in the near-term by increasing the line speed at Dearborn and Kansas City or adding more overtime.

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