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Ford F-150 Production Getting Back Up to Speed After Fire at Supplier Plant

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2018 Ford F-150 rolls off the line at Dearborn Truck Plant after brief shutdown

Production has gotten back underway on the Ford F-150 at Dearborn Truck Plant following a layoff caused by a May 2nd fire at supplier Meridian Magnesium Products’ facility. Ford is also planning to get production of the F-150 and Super Duty up and running on Monday at its Kansas City Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant, respectively.

“While the situation remains extremely dynamic, our teams are focused on returning our plants to full production as fast as possible,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Global Operations. “The ramp-up time to full production is improving every day.”

Related: What to expect from the 2018 Ford F-150, the toughest and most intelligent F-150 ever built

Eaton Rapids City Manager Aaron Desentz called it “a miracle” that the fire at Meridian Magnesium earlier this month only left two injured. The blaze and the explosions it caused left Meridian Magnesium without the tools necessary to produce parts for the Ford F-150, Super Duty, Expedition, Flex, and Lincoln Navigator and MKT.

Though production of the Expedition, Explorer, Flex, Navigator, and MKT were uninterrupted, the F-150 and Super Duty were impacted, causing a temporary shutdown at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant, and Kentucky Truck Plant.

To get production for two of the automaker’s most integral products back online, Ford called in the help of partners to refurbish, retrieve, and relocate necessary tools. This includes removing a bolster die from the Eaton Rapids facility; shipping it to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio; transporting it to Nottingham via an Antonov An-124 plane; and obtaining a UK import license in just 30 hours’ time. The parts produced by the die are being shipped from Nottingham to the US via Boeing 747 every day until Meridian Magnesium is back up and running at full capacity.

“Faced with unexpected adversity, the Ford team, including our global supply partners, showed unbelievable resiliency, turning a devastating event into a shining example of teamwork,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of Product Development and Purchasing. “Thanks to their heroic efforts, we are resuming production of some of our most important vehicles ahead of our original targets.”

Despite a projected $0.12 to $0.14 impact on shares in the second quarter, Ford suggests that inventories of the F-150 and Super Duty will not be impacted by the shutdowns.

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