Ford Motor Co. will resume production of its F-150 in Michigan on Friday and Super Duty trucks in Kentucky on Monday, following a week of downtime that resulted from a fire at the factory of parts supplier Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.
The production outage appears to have minimal impact on the orders or delivery of trucks to commercial and other fleet users, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations, during a May 17 conference call with the media.
"We've been contacting our largest commercial buyers," Hinrichs said. "We're at a good time of the year for that business, so we don’t think there will be any substantial impact on those customers."
Ford closed the order bank for its 2018 F-150 and Super Duty models on April 26. Hinrichs said the company has "ample supply" of the trucks with 84 days of F-Series inventory.
Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and BMW source components from the Meridian plant, which severely burned during a May 2 blaze. The plant supplies front-end bolsters for Super Duty trucks that sit behind the grille, among other parts.
Production of General Motors vans, including the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna, will also resume on Monday, said Jim Cain, a GM spokesman.
Production of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan was impacted by the fire. FCA is still assessing the impact to fleet purchasers, said Jody Tinson, an FCA spokesperson.
"The company has been balancing production between the Chrysler Pacifica and the Dodge Grand Caravan to minimize plant downtime," Tinson said. "Any production lost during this period will be made up."
Following the fire, Ford team members entered the factory and began extracting 19 die machines that are used to inject molds to form the parts. The machines were inspected, repaired, and moved to other plants, including one to a Meridian facility in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Because of the size of the machines – one weighs about 87,000 pounds – Ford contracted a Russian Antonov cargo aircraft to carry it.
Production of parts has restarted at Meridian's Eaton Rapids plant.