A supplier factory fire is what started this whole mess.
A few days ago we learned that Ford F-150 and Super Duty production was being halted at their US-based facilities due to a parts shortage caused by a fire at the supplier's Michigan factory. Needless to say, shutting down the production line on the automaker's best-selling pickup truck is one of the worsts things that could happen. If that production stoppage lasts too long (meaning more than two weeks), Ford's quarterly earnings will be affected.
According to Automotive News, however, it looks like production may resume as soon as this Friday at two F-150 production plants, one in Dearborn, Michigan and the second in Kansas City, Missouri. A third plant, in Louisville, Kentucky, is closed indefinitely. Ford and the supplier, Chinese-owned Meridian Magnesium Products of America, have managed to work out an arrangement to get things back online that will see production of the affected parts shifted to another supplier. We're sure Ford management is starting to breath again. Meridian builds lightweight components such as engine cradles, instrument panel crossbar beams, and radiator supports, among other things.
And, as it turns out, Ford is not Meridian's only customer. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler are as well – and all of whom have experienced a production disruption because of the fire. Mercedes has also been forced to temporarily stop production at its Alabama SUV factory because it's exhausted its supply of cockpit cross-bars. Like the two Ford plants, Mercedes plans to begin production again later this week, though on a "modified production schedule." Meanwhile, Ford dealerships reportedly have a enough new 2018 F-150 trucks on hand to sell, but given the rate in which they move off dealer lots, production must get going again sooner rather than later, even if it's on a somewhat limited basis.