Things could have been so much worse.
The Ford F-150 is critical for the automaker. For years, it has been the best-selling vehicle for the Blue Oval as well as in America. Without this full-size truck, Ford would be a very different automaker. Last month, a tornado struck the BorgWarner factory in Seneca, South Carolina, severely damaging the facility that produces transfer cases for the F-150 as well as the Ford Explorer and Expedition, and Lincoln Aviator and Navigator.
The plant's roof was ripped off and part of the building itself collapsed. Without this critical transmission component, Ford would have a serious problem (as if the coronavirus pandemic isn't already enough of a problem). Fortunately, it seems Ford has dodged a bullet on this one.
Automotive News reports Ford and plant officials moved fast with a damage assessment and numerous various other efforts and have managed to find a way to get the plant up and running. Within only 12 hours of the tornado strike, repair teams were on the scene and quickly got to work. The plant's roof has been temporarily repaired as well as the necessary computer rooms that manage the production line. As a result, Ford reports there will be no production disruption.
"I'm extremely confident that when we start up our systems in the US and North America, BorgWarner will support them. The risk is dropping every day," said Gary Johnson, Ford's chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer. "The decision was made to help retrofit the plant to make it viable to come back."
BorgWarner added it plans to resume production at the end of the month. And speaking of production, Ford said late last week it intends to restart production at its North American plants the moment the government gives approval. No specific restart dates have been set as of this writing. Meanwhile, Ford's European plants are scheduled to reopen tomorrow, May 4.