Ford Motor Co. plans to shut temporarily assembly plants in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky as it continues to grapple with the semiconductor shortage, which has played havoc with production of vehicles since last fall.
Meanwhile, the industry, which was stymied by temporary closing of the Suez Canal, is now facing the possibility of labor unrest and the sprawling port of Los Angeles where Teamsters and longshoreman began a work stoppage in support of short haul drivers, who are routinely classified as contractors or gig workers want to unionize.
Neither the Teamsters or the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have indicated how long the walkout could last or if it could spread.
Cutting production at key plants
The company also is temporarily closing or slowing at three assembly plants:
- Kansas City Assembly Plant, in Claycomo, Missouri, where it builds the Ford F-150 and Transit van, the weeks of April 19 and 26;
- Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, near Cleveland, where it builds heavy-duty pickup trucks, will only build Super Duty Chassis cabs and medium-duty trucks the weeks of April 19 and 26; and
- Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, where Ford builds the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, will be down the weeks of April 26 and May 8.
All three plants build some of Ford’s most profitable vehicles in the company’s model line-up. Ford is also canceling overtime shifts at the Kentucky Truck Plant May 8-31. Additionally, the company’s Flat Rock, Michigan and Chicago plants, which shut down April 12 will now be closed through the week of April 26.
General Motors said earlier it planned to close plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee, which makes the Cadillac XT5, XT6 and GMC Acadia SUVs, this week and next. Production of the Chevrolet Blazer at Ramos Arizpe will stop for a week on April 19, while the Lansing (Michigan) Grand River plant, which makes the Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans, will remain down through the week of April 26, GM said.
Last weekend, GM also cut overtime production at light truck plants in Flint, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Cox Automotive reported this week that new-vehicle inventory levels continue to be tight.
According to an analysis from Cox, the supply stood at 2.66 million vehicles at the end of March, down from 2.82 million as February ended. Supply has been trending lower since mid-December and is now running 25% below last year and 31% below 2019.
Industry-wide days’ supply was down to 59 as the quarter ended, a level 38% below the same timeframe in 2019. And there is no indication inventory levels will improve, Cox observed.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported this week that travelers looking for rental cars are facing higher prices particularly around vacation destinations in places such as Florida and Arizona. Rental companies are telling travelers that they have not been able to acquire more cars because of the slowdown in production due to the shortage of semiconductors.