Ford Motor Co. will temporarily shut down its Flat Rock site in Michigan for "approximately" one week in December as the carmaker already has more supplies of the Fusion mid-sized sedan that it needs, according to a company spokeswoman. She said that the move comes as Ford continues to “match production with demand."
Ford will also shut its Michigan Assembly Plant, which builds the Focus and C-Max, for the same duration. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a report that Ford executives attributed high Fusion inventories partially to Toyota Motor Sales USA's "aggressive discounting of the Camry.
According to the Automotive News Data Center, inventories of the Fusion grew from the ideal 65 days a month to 88 days as of Nov. 1, 2013. A year ago, Ford had just 48 days a month of inventories. For both the Focus and C-Max, Ford had over 100-day supply as of Nov. 1, 2013.
Posts made by Ford employees on BlueOvalNews.com indicated that the Flat Rock site could also be shut down for four more weeks in the first quarter of 2014. Ford sold 20 percent more Fusions in the first 10 months of 2013, compared to 2 percent growth for mid-sized cars overall.
While the Fusion looked poised to seriously challenge Camry for the US sales crown earlier this year, Toyota’s unit was able to pull away as the Japanese carmaker offer more incentives. Toyota's average incentives surged 8 percent in October from a year earlier, according to Edmunds.com. Executives at Toyota have remarked that they are willing to offer higher discounts to ensure the Camry’s defense of its US sales crown. Camry has so far outsold the Fusion by over 100,000 units.