CBS Detroit – The winter weather systems that are causing havoc across the southern United States is also affecting production for Ford in many of its plants. In an article by the Detroit Free Press, Ford Motor Company confirmed that has had to shutdown plants or alter shifts as it says conditions remain fluid, changing very quickly. These slowdowns are especially concerning, as COVID-19 has hurt the auto industry and Ford is trying to play catch up. This includes its newly released Bronco which Ford is trying to fill the pre-orders they have. According to Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for AutoTrader.com, Ford only has a 34-day supply of Bronco Sports. The industry average on any particular model is 67 days she says.

Credit: Ford.com – Ford’s latest SUV the Bronco Sport is so successful, it’s having difficulty making enough to meet the demand.

The shutdowns according to the Detroit Free Press have affected production across North America, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. These shutdowns also include plants here in Michigan as well. Kelli Felker is Ford’s Global Manufacturing and Labor Communications manager, she confirmed to the Free Press the following shutdowns and shift slowdowns.

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Shut Down Due To weather:

  • Ford Flat Rock Plant, home of the Mustang.
  • Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, which assembles F-150s and Transit Vans
  • Ohio Assembly Near Cleveland, which manufactures Ford F-650, F-750, and various chassis for heavier Super Duty Cabs and chassis.
  • the Hermosillo Assembly in Mexico which makes the Bronco Sport.

Plants that are Running Second Shift

  • Ford’s Chicago Assembly, which manufactures the Explorer, Police Interceptors, and Lincoln’s latest model the Aviator.
  • Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, which is known for making the F-150 pickup.
  • Ford’s Oakville Assembly in Ontario, which makes the Edge and Lincoln Nautilus.

Plants Running On schedule

  • Louisville Assembly in Kentucky. Responsible for the Escape and Lincoln Corsair.
  • Michigan Assembly in Wayne which makes the Ranger.
  • Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico manufactures the Mustang Mach-E.
  • Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The Detroit Free Press reports this is running some operations and a second shift planned for production on the Super-Duty, Expedition, and its sister the Lincoln Navigator.

Ford has decided to cut or slow operations because the winter weather has cut supplies on utilities across the country. In Kansas City, natural gas companies have asked the automaker to cut production as the bitter cold is causing supplies to worsen and prices to skyrocket as utilities ask people to lower their thermostats. Scott Carter is the president of Spire Missouri. A natural gas company based out of St. Louis, in a statement to the Free Press, he wrote:

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“Spire employees across five states are working hard to make sure homes and businesses stay safe and warm during these extreme weather conditions. We’re constantly monitoring the changing conditions and, while our systems remain strong, we’re proactively working with large natural gas users like Ford to plan for emergencies when there’s not enough supply to meet the energy needs of the larger community.”

With large amounts of snowfall, even places accustomed to the snow are having difficulty. Unifor labor union president Jerry Dias told the Free Press they had 400 employees call in as they had trouble getting out of their driveways and managing the roads. “They left to go to work and couldn’t get anywhere”. Dias says what would normally take a 30 minute commute was taking 90 minutes. As snowplows were out in the Toronto area frantically trying to catch-up with mother nature.

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Charlie Forbes