Ford resuming F-150 truck production on Friday after supplier fire

Flies 87,000-pound die from Michigan to England to get going again

DETROIT — Ford said on Wednesday that production of its popular and highly profitable F-150 pickup trucks would resume on Friday at its Dearborn, Michigan, plant, which had been closed for more than a week because of parts shortages caused by a fire at a key supplier.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker also said production would resume on Monday at a second F-150 plant in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as its F-series Super Duty truck plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

Production of the Expedition and Navigator SUVs continues without interruption at Louisville, Ford said.

The F-150 full-size pickup is the best-selling vehicle in the United States. The vehicle generated $41 billion in revenue last year, about 28 percent of total sales and the lion's share of Ford's profits.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, Ford executives said the May 2 fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, affected several automakers, but its team was the first to enter the fire-damaged plant "while it was still smoldering."

Working with Meridian and other suppliers, Ford said it moved 19 dies — used to shape magnesium parts — out of the Eaton Rapids plant in 30 hours. After inspecting and repairing the dies, Ford said some portions of the Eaton Rapids facility were able to restart production.

The automaker also flew one die weighing 87,000 pounds to a Meridian plant in Nottingham, England, after commissioning a giant Russian-built Antonov cargo plane, one of only 21 in the world.

Ford said it expected an adverse impact of 12 to 14 cents per share on second-quarter earnings, but affirmed its full-year guidance, saying it believed it could make up most of the lost production.

Ford shares closed up 1.6 percent at $11.40.

Reporting by Nick Carey and Paul Lienert

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