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Ford F-150 production will officially resume on Friday

17 May 2018

Production of the F-Series Super Duty will fully resume on Monday at the Kentucky Truck Plant and the Kansas City Assembly Plant. The company had shut down F-150 assembly at the plants in Dearborn and near Kansas City and also stopped building bigger Super Duty pickups at a factory in Louisville.

Production was halted due to a shortage of parts caused by a May 2 fire at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids.

Returning to full production is likely to take some time as the automaker has scrambled to re-establish manufacturing of critical components from a supplier.

Dearborn-based Ford put together a team that refurbished and relocated tooling needed to make parts for the vehicles.

"The situation is still changing hour by hour and we could still encounter some obstacles, but I'm confident the team will continue to charge ahead and find ways to deliver", Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations, said on a conference call with reporters.

One of the dies, weighing in at 87,000 pounds, was moved to a plant in Britain via a 30-hour flight on a massive Antonov cargo plane, the company said.

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The F-150 is a key profit generator for Ford.

"We were working around the clock, across the ocean, with the teams there to really get the facilities back up and running", Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's head of purchasing and product development, said on the call. Rickenbacker had the capacity to handle such a large piece of equipment and allowed an Antonov An-124 Russian plane - typically used to transport trains, dump trucks, and even a 25-foot sea yacht - to take off as soon as the equipment was loaded.

A team in Nottingham was waiting to receive the die and take it to Meridian's nearby factory. In between, the Ford team received a United Kingdom import licence for the die - a mere two hours before the plane touched down.

Ford executives declined to say how many vehicles were not produced as a result of the idling, though they said customers should have no problems finding trucks in dealership lots.

Ford told the news agency at a USA press briefing it expected an adverse impact of 12 to 14 cents per share on Q2 earnings but affirmed its full-year guidance, saying it believed it could make up most of the lost production. Meanwhile, the automaker has reaffirmed its guidance for full-year earnings.

Ford F-150 production will officially resume on Friday