Lost production time must be recovered.
The global semiconductor chip shortage has wreaked havoc for automakers as they continue struggling to maintain regular production schedules. Some models, such as the Chevrolet Camaro, have seen their respective assembly lines shut down entirely in order to help conserve as many chips as possible for more profitable trucks and SUVs. Ford's chip shortage battle remains serious as well and despite the current slowdowns, the traditional summertime multi-week factory shutdowns used for plant retooling have been canceled.
The Detroit Free Press reports the Blue Oval's vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs, John Savona, has sent a letter to a number of Ford plants across the country informing them summer break is not happening.
"This notification is a week later than normal because of the volatility tied to the industry-wide semiconductor shortage. We appreciate your patience and the UAW's cooperation and understanding," the letter states. "We understand these schedule disruptions are inconvenient. We also appreciate that this year's summer schedule may be disappointing to those who look forward to time away during the traditional shutdown weeks."
A majority of its US plants are affected, specifically the Dearborn Truck and Kansas City Assembly Plants that build the popular Ford F-150. Other facilities include Flat Rock in Detroit (home of the Mustang), Chicago Assembly (Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator), and the Kentucky Truck Plant (Escape, Expedition, Lincoln Corsair and Navigator). Thousands of factory workers are affected but we doubt most will be upset that their summer vacations aren't happening.
Ford needs to make up for lost production time and a majority of these hourly employees haven't been able to work their normal shifts. That means less income. But the good news is that Ford is hoping chip supplies will, at the very least, be partially restored by summer. In fact, Ford is aiming to operate more US factories during more weeks this summer than it has in over 15 years.
Summer vacation may be canceled but at least Ford is planning the return of some form of production normality. Hopefully, the currently reduced schedules, closures, and lost income will come to an end in the coming few months.