Ford to shorten annual summer shutdown to one week

Article by Anita Panait, on May 22, 2013

Ford Motor Co. will shorten its annual summer shutdown to one week from the usual two weeks at 20 sites in North America, as part of its bid to increase production of key vehicle models. According to Ford, the shortened break will hike car and light-truck output in North America by 40,000 units. Ford’s latest move, along with other recent production changes, will allow the carmaker to increase its annual straight-time capacity in North America this year by 240,000 units.

The additional output will help the carmaker meet surging demand for its vehicles, which raised its US market share to 16.3 percent through April 2013. The carmaker posted a 13-percent jump in sales in an overall US market that only grew 7 percent. This will be the second straight year that Ford shortened its summer shutdown.

Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president in charge of North America manufacturing, said in a statement that the carmaker will continue to operate its North American sites at "full manned capacity" to meet consumer demand. According to Tetreault, around 75 percent of Ford’s sites are operating at a three-crew, three-shift or four-crew pattern to ensure that more products get into dealerships.

The US carmaker disclosed that 200,000 units of additional capacity will come from its assembly sites in Chicago and Flat Rock in Michigan and Kansas City in Missouri, where it has recently hired new workers, adjusted line speeds, and taken other approaches to hike output.

The sites build the Ford Explorer, Ford Fusion, and Ford F-series pickups – three of the carmaker most popular nameplates. Ford posted a 19-percent jump in sales of its F series this year as well as a 25-percent surge in demand for its redesigned Fusion. Ford builds 2.8 million light vehicles in North America in 2012, and its production has grown 13 percent for the first four months of 2013.

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