Ford halves summer shutdown, ramps SUV production

For the third consecutive year, Ford is reducing the length of its summer shutdown for several factories to keep up with high demand for some models. This year, the decision means 40,000 more units of popular trucks and crossovers like the F-Series, Edge, Escape, and Explorer.

Rather than the normal two-week break, workers at the Chicago, Dearborn Truck, Kansas City, Kentucky Truck, Louisville, and Oakville factories will only get a week off starting on June 29. Additionally, 10 plants for producing components to support these assembly lines will also have the shorter vacation. The rest of the Blue Oval's manufacturing locations will shutdown from June 29 to July 10 for maintenance and retooling.

According to Ford, the decision comes because of low inventories and high demand on some of its popular models. The 2015 F-150 is lasting around 20 days at dealers, and the Edge spends an average of 10 days before being sold.

Ford is hardly alone in deciding to keep locations open during the normal summer break, though. FCA recently made the decision not to shutdown four assembly plants and all of its factories for components to keep up with demand for models like the Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango.

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In response to increased customer demand, Ford will add capacity this summer to produce its most popular trucks and utilities

Ford will shorten its summer shutdown from the traditional two-week summer shutdown to one week for a majority of North American assembly plants, increasing production by close to 40,000 units

In April, Ford F-150 was turning at just 20 days on dealer lots, Edge sales were up 78 percent, and Escape and Explorer remained in tight supply. 2016 Explorers are now hitting dealer lots

In response to customer demand for Ford's newest products, the company this year will produce close to 40,000 extra units by idling select plants for only one week during what has been the traditional two-week summer shutdown..

"To meet surging customer demand for our top-selling trucks and utilities, we are continuing to run our North American facilities during the traditional two-week summer shutdown in order to add close to 40,000 units," said Bruce Hettle, Ford vice president, North America Manufacturing. "Six of our assembly plants will build for an additional week in order to ensure we're getting more of our vehicles into dealerships."

As part of Ford's annual production schedule, its North American manufacturing facilities will shut down from June 29 to July 10, 2015 for building maintenance and machine retooling. Based on strong customer demand for the company's newest products – F-150, Edge, Escape and Explorer – six Ford assembly plants, along with supporting powertrain and stamping plants, will shut down only the week of June 29. Assembly plants include Chicago, Dearborn Truck, Kansas City, Kentucky Truck, Louisville and Oakville.

The powertrain and stamping plants taking a reduced summer shutdown this year include:

Livonia Transmission

Rawsonville Transmission

Sharonville Transmission

Sterling Axle

Buffalo Stamping

Chicago Stamping

Dearborn Consolidated

Kansas City Stamping

Kentucky Stamping

Woodhaven Stamping

Demand for Ford's trucks and utilities continues to be strong. In April, Ford's all-new 2015 F-150 was turning in just 20 days on dealer lots, while Edge spent just 10 days on dealer lots. Escape inventories remain tight in a growing small utility vehicle segment. Explorer inventories are also tight, with the new 2016 Explorer just beginning to hit dealer lots as production ramps up.

This is the third straight year Ford has kept plants running during summer shutdown in order to meet strong demand for its products. Over the past several years, the company has invested more than $6.2 billion and added more than 15,000 jobs in its U.S. facilities to help meet customer demand for its newest products.

The increased production was included in the financial guidance Ford confirmed in its first-quarter earnings report on April 28, 2015.

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