Ford Halving Summer Shutdown at Three North American Plants to Bolster SUV Production
To the surprise of few, Ford is selling a whole bunch of SUVs. Like a whole bunch. More than it has ever sold in the first five months of any previous year ever, in fact. With 325,475 SUVs out the door for US customers already, the Blue Oval is opting to cut summer vacation shutdown in half at three North American plants to support the production of 22,000 additional units.
“Strong customer demand for our SUVs means we will operate some of our North American plants during the traditional two-week summer shutdown,” said Gary Johnson, Ford vice president, North American Manufacturing. “Our SUV assembly plants will continue to build vehicles to make sure we have enough of our popular SUVs to meet customer demand.”
Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant, Chicago Assembly Plant, and Oakville Assembly Plant—as well as their respective stamping facilities—will only be shuttered during the week of the Fourth of July for routine maintenance and retooling. The additional week of production will allow Ford to build an extra 22,000 units across the Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex, and Expedition namebadges.
To help facilitate the launch of the upcoming 2017 F-Series Super Duty, Ford will also halve summer shutdown at its Kentucky Truck Plant. This marks four straight years that Ford has had to cut shutdown time at one or more of its manufacturing plants to support increased demand.
Overall SUV sales in the United States are up 9% through five months. Every model in the Ford SUV lineup has seen year-to-date sales increases over 2015: sales of the Escape are up 3.3% at 126,375 units; sales of the Explorer are up 6.6% at 94,981 units; sales of the Edge are up 17.4% at 59,861 units; sales of the Expedition are up 20.3% at 20,251 units; sales of the Police Interceptor Utility are up 28.4% at 13,770 units; and sales of the Flex are up 13.7% at 10,237 units.