Needless to say, it comes at a bad time.
Ford relies heavily on sales of its widely popular F-Series and during the coronavirus pandemic, two major US-based assembly plants were shut down. Kansas City, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan are where the Ford F-150 calls home and both facilities are up and running once again. That's the good news.
The bad news is that the larger Ford Super Duty could be facing a production stoppage beginning next week due to a lack of engines built at the company's Chihuahua Engine Plant in Mexico. According to Reuters, Ford first learned of this situation last week when US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau placed a call to an unnamed senior Ford executive informing them of a potential production slowdown because of limited employee plant attendance.
"Due to COVID-19, the State of Chihuahua in Mexico has limited employee attendance to 50 percent, a region in which we have several suppliers," said Ford President of the Americas Kumar Galhotra. "With our U.S. plants running at 100 percent, that is not sustainable. While we do not expect any impact to production next week, we are continuing to work with government officials on ways to safely and constructively resume remaining production."
Although the Mexican government has given permission for businesses and industries across the country to reopen, such as automakers and mining companies, some states have decided to implement their own set of restrictions in order to combat the pandemic. The State of Chihuahua is doing exactly that.
However, those completed engines are then shipped to the US, specifically to Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, where the Super Duty undergoes final assembly. This plant is also home to the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Without those engines arriving as originally scheduled, there'll be nothing to build and that'll likely lead to yet another factory shutdown. Normally, the plant builds approximately 840 Super Duty trucks during every 10-hour shifts. All told, that's more than 10,000 trucks a week. Because this situation just came to light late last week, Ford has not announced its next steps.
For now, the automaker is working with both union officials and the Mexican government for a hopeful solution.