The F-150, a top seller for Ford and one of the top-selling vehicles in the US for more than 40 years, is facing a production halt.
The company has suspended F-150 and Super Duty production in Kansas City, Missouri; Dearborn, Michigan; and Louisville, Kentucky. Executive Vice President and President of Global Operations Joe Hinrichs said that Ford "is confident that any impacts will be short term", and indicated that inventories of the F-150 are "strong".
But if the shutdown lasts a month, buyers will probably discover the version of the truck they want - the type of engine, or the type of cab configuration or trim - won't be available.
The major fire occurred May 2 at a large parts plant in a small MI town.
Experts say that if Ford's two F-150 assembly lines remain shut down for more than a couple of weeks, there could start to be shortages. Ford was able to recover the 19 tool sets it needs to restart production of components from fire scene, but it will take time to restart the supply chain.
The truck is responsible for about 28% of Ford's total sales, generating $41 billion in revenue previous year.
Nearly 7,600 workers are temporary laid off due to the fire. Two people were injured in the fire, and the plant's roof was destroyed in the process.
Meridian Magnesium Products, owned by the Chinese Wanfeng Auto Holdings is the only supplier in North America that has the ability to supply this product at the volume Ford requires. However, Ford says dealers' inventories of the trucks are large enough to prevent a near-term shortage.
The F-150 is made of all kinds of fancy, lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium, and it's the magnesium that's causing problems with production.
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