A fire at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, Michigan caused ripple effects throughout the automotive industry and one of the hardest hit companies was Ford which had to temporarily cease production of the popular F-150.
The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for decades and any extended production delays would have had serious consequences for the automaker. Thankfully, the company has solved the problem and plans to resume production of the F-150 at the Dearborn Truck Plant on Friday. On Monday, the company will begin building the F-150 and F-Series Super Duty at plants in Kansas and Kentucky.
Ford wanted to resume production of the popular and profitable models as quickly as possible and this required a herculean effort. Working with suppliers and contractors, the company removed 19 dies from Meridian Magnesium Products. Ford notes this wasn’t an easy task as one die weighed 87,000 pounds (39,462 kg) and need to be moved to the United Kingdom.
In order to move the die, they enlisted the help of one of the largest cargo planes in the world – an Antonov An-124 – and the entire process only took 30 hours door-to-door. This is in stark contrast to usual procedure which typically requires 10 days just to get the proper import and export approvals.
While production of the F-150 was down for a week, Ford says they started working immediately after the fire. This quick reaction time enabled the company to recover, repair and validate most of the dies that were at the Eaton Rapids facility.
While the situation isn’t ideal, Ford is making the best of it and notes parts built in the United Kingdom will be flown to the United States daily until production in Eaton Rapids returns to pre-fire levels.
Despite the quick effort, Ford is still expecting to take a hit from the fire as the company told investors to expect an “adverse impact of $0.12 to $0.14 per share in second quarter due to lost production.”