Ford to temporarily suspend F-150 truck production

Ford drops cars to focus on trucks and SUVs

It burns white-hot and is hard to extinguish, which is something that Ford supplier Meridian Magnesium Products experienced recently when it suffered a major fire that has resulted in a stoppage of F-150 production. The Kansas City plant stopped production on earlier this week, followed by the Kentucky Super Duty line and yesterday, production stopped at the Dearborn truck plant near Detroit.

"We're confident that any impacts will be short term", said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford global operations, in a media call late Wednesday.

As a result, some buyers might have trouble finding the specific vehicle they want if the shutdown continues for more than a couple of weeks, Krebs said, even if there are plenty of other F-150's on their local dealer's lots.

Officials at Ford confirmed that Meridian is the producer of "front bolster", which reinforces the engine at the point in which the radiator is attached on its F-150, Expedition, Navigator and Super Duty trucks.

The automaker has two plants that build its F-150 pickup truck, and both are shutdown due to a parts shortage caused by that fire. The cause of the fire wasn't known. Production at General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Mercedes also was disrupted.

"For Ford, this is potentially enormous, It's just tragic", said Abhay "Abe" Vadhavkar, director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

Late model Ford F-150s on used vehicle lots may also get some extra attention in the weeks ahead. But the problem for Ford in particular is that the F-150 is its most profitable product.

Ford said it now has an 84-day supply of the trucks but do not have a time frame as to when the supply line will be restored. The truck line, including F-250 and other larger models, hauls in about $40 billion in annual revenue, exceeding the annual sales of companies such as Facebook Inc. and Nike Inc.

On May 2nd, a fire and a series of explosions heavily damaged a production facility owned by Meridian Magnesium Products of America, one of Ford's suppliers. Management of the two brands will rush to do whatever they can to take advantage of the F-150 production interruption.

About 7,600 workers are on temporary layoff because of the fire, according to AP.