Ford CFO Shanks says F-150 production issues are being sorted out

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 9, 2015

Ford Motor Co. confirmed that it has already boosted the output of the 2015 F-150 at two of the plants that produce the aluminum-bodied pickups, according to CFO Bob Shanks. There were reports that the plants were unable to have their scheduled overtime because of a shortage of frames that were built by suppliers.

Shanks recently faced analysts’ questions about the frame shortage. He won’t admit that the automaker was having difficulties with the supply of the frames from Kentucky-based Metalsa. He only answered by saying that the launch proceeded better than they expected. Shanks said that during launches, the automaker has to deal with supply issues but that “if there’s an issue,” they will sort it out.

He also said that the launch process in the factories located in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., have been completed and are currently in “volume production.” Last January, the Dearborn plant was able to reach full speed. The automaker had recently revealed that Kansas City Assembly will get to this level by the end of this month.

From an official with UAW Local 249 in Kansas City, we discovered that the Kansas plant’s scheduled overtime on May 30 was canceled due to a frame shortage. Workers shared that several overtime days in Dearborn were canceled and several regular shifts have been terminated early during the last few months.

In May 2015, sales of the U.S. F-series declined by 9.7% while the other pickup models had a 17% increase. The automaker said that dealerships started the month with about half of the F-150s in its inventory compared to the previous year. Shanks said that the expenses from the model changeover were lower than Ford’s estimates.

He also said that the transaction prices for the redesigned truck were “far higher than what was expected” when the program got the approval of its executives. In May, the amounts paid by F-series buyers averaged $43,300. In comparison, they paid $3,300 more than a year ago and $600 higher in the month of April.

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