Things don’t appear to be getting any better for the Blue Oval as the global semiconductor chip shortage continues. As the company waits for the President Biden and the federal government to help secure the automotive-grade silicon supply chain, Ford has just announced a new wave of plant closures across several of their North American production facilities. According to a report from Automotive News, these extended closures will take place at facilities that have already been idled, impacting production of vehicles like Ford F-150, Transit, Super Duty, Mustang, and other profit-driving SUVs. Here’s what you need to know.
The announcement of the extended plant closures comes by way of an internal memo acquired by Automotive News. The memo was released to employees just one week after a similar document extended closures at several plants, beyond the initial dates Ford announced at the beginning of the month. Ford’s Kansas City Assembly plant, which was fully idled on April 19, will now remain closed for the weeks of May 3 and May 10. Both the Transit and Ford F-150 sides of the plant will be hit with the extended downtime. Furthermore, plants in Chicago and Flat Rock will also remain idled during that same timeframe. Both of those facilities have already been closed since April 12. Chicago Assembly is home to the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs, whereas Flat Rock is responsible for cranking out the Mustang.
Like the other plants that have faced previous adjustments to production plans, Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant will also see some extended changes. The plant will continue to only build Super Duty chassis cabs and medium-duty trucks through the weeks of May 3 and May 10. This restriction was initially put in place during the week of April 19, but Ohio Assembly avoids a total plant closure.
“As you build every vehicle you can for our dealers and customers, our teams behind the scenes are working hard to source additional parts,” said Ford’s vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs John Savona in the memo. “The situation is constantly changing, and we appreciate your understanding as we work through this together.”
Outside of the plant closures, the automaker also noted in the memo that several of their powertrain and stamping facilities will also have to adjust to the changing demands. Considering how popular the Ford F-150, Mustang, and Explorer are, that isn’t all that surprising. Regardless, this highlights how big of a problem the semiconductor chip shortage is shaping up to be.
Ford Motor Company has previously stated that they believe this semiconductor chip shortage will end up costing them $1 billion to $2.5 billion in profit during 2021. That is a ton of money, especially considering how things transpired last year due to the pandemic. It is no surprise then that all of Detroit’s automakers are pushing for some sort of federal intervention into the issue. With fewer vehicles being built due to plant closures, the impact won’t just be felt by the companies either. Customers and dealers alike are going to struggle to get the vehicles they want, which isn’t good for anybody.