May 9 (UPI) — The Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday it will temporarily halt production of F-150s at two of its U.S. factories due to a fire at one of its parts suppliers.
F-150 production will be suspended at Ford’s plants in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo. At the company’s plant in Louisville, Ky., production will be decreased. It’s not yet clear when F-150 production will return to normal levels.
“This is a fluid situation, but we are working closely with our supplier partners to do everything we can to limit the impact on our production,” Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Ford’s Global Operations, said in a statement. “It’s a full team effort and we’re confident that any impacts will be short term.”
Hinrichs added that the F-150 inventories are plentiful enough to not have any impact on current customer demands.
Despite Ford’s statement to the contrary, auto industry experts told the Detroit Free Press that the fallout from the F-150 production halt could have wide-ranging negative effects.
“The impact on everybody else is going to pale compared to Ford,” Abhay “Abe” Vadhavkar, director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the paper. “For Ford, this is potentially enormous. It’s just tragic.”
The impact from investors and on employees are also of concern.
James Albertine, an analyst with Consumer Edge Research, told the Detroit News that the production halt could cost Ford up to 15,000 F-150s each week.
Ford’s F-Series have been among the best-selling trucks in the United States each year since its launch in 1977, Ford announced last year.