F-150s could be in short supply after plant fire

MICHIGAN — Ford could halt production of the F-150, its bestselling and most profitable vehicle, following a fire at a supplier’s plant in Michigan last week.

Ford has already shut down truck production in a Kansas City plant, and it could shut its Dearborn, Michigan, truck plant either today or Thursday, according to a letter sent by a UAW official to union members.

The shutdowns could last for several weeks, according to a person familiar with the situation, although plans are in flux as Ford seeks an alternative supply of the missing parts.

The fire was at the Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, on May 2. The plant supplies other automakers as well but so far none have reported they have been forced to shut production.

The F-150 has been the best selling US vehicle for more than 40 years. It’s a key profit generator for Ford.

Ford has sold 287,000 F-150 trucks in the United States in the first four months of this year, up 4% compared to a year ago. That’s more than four times the sales of its second best selling vehicle, the Escape SUV.

7,600 workers build F-150 trucks at the two plants. They will get most of but not all of their pay during the temporary layoff.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” said spokesperson Kelli Felker. “We’re working very closely with suppliers to resolve the issue and determine our next steps.”