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Japanese Quake Hits Ford

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On: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 8:58AM | By: Chris Weiss


Japanese Quake Hits Ford

We knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. After weeks of saying little more than that it's watching the situation closely, Ford announced that it will have to shut down its first plants as a result of shortages of Japanese-sourced auto parts. Like GM before it, Ford remained mum as to what part(s) was at issue.

Late last week, Ford announced that it would close its Louisville, Kentucky plant responsible for building the F-Series Super Duty trucks and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs as of this week. Additionally, Ford said that it would close a plant in Belgium responsible for building S-Max and Galaxy minivans and the Mondeo sedan as a result of parts issues.

Perhaps representing a strategy by Ford, the large trucks and SUVs affected here in America have been experiencing slow sales due to rising gas prices, meaning the production stoppage should have minimal impact on Ford's sales.

Ford's production plants had previously remained unaffected by the events in Japan and the auto-part shortages that followed, outside of having to stop vehicle orders in certain colors due to a pigment shortage.

GM was the first U.S. automaker to be affected by Japanese parts shortages when it shut down a Shreveport, Louisiana and some Buffalo, New York operations last month. GM restarted production at those plants last week.

Ford's production stoppages begin this week and it's unclear when regular production will begin. Looking to the future, Ford indicated that additional disruptions may come.

The company noted: "Because the situation in Japan continues to develop, supply interruptions related to materials and components from Japan could manifest themselves in the weeks ahead."




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