Ford is feeling the heat. Literally.
Weeks after Ford Motor Co. (F) revealed it would substantially dial back its focus on cars in North America to center its attention on its prized F-Series pickup trucks and other new SUVs and crossovers, the company is dealing with a supplier plant fire that is expected to halt production of F-150s and potentially other vehicles in the coming days, and possibly weeks.
On an aftermarket conference call with the media Wednesday, May 9, Ford said it does not expect the fire, which occurred May 2 at a Michigan magnesium die cast components plant operated by Meridian Lightweight Technologies, to have any effect on sales to customers or change its full-year earnings guidance of $1.45 per share to $1.70 per share.
The company did say it will see a near-term financial impact from the incident, but would not quantify the impact for media representatives on the Wednesday call.
Ford shares declined 1.8% to $11.06 in regular trading Wednesday. Shares declined slightly, by less than 1%, after hours.
Detroit-based Ford is currently expected to report second quarter earnings of 43 cents per share and full year earnings of $1.55 per share, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Ford said it is confident its 84-day lot supply will prevent it from running into any troubles with customers looking for F-150s and other vehicles.
Asked on the call whether the company expected to have to halt production of its popular Explorer, Expedition or Lincoln Navigator sports utility vehicles, the company did not provide a clear answer.
Ford said it continues to produce those vehicles now and hopes to continue producing those vehicles, but couldn't say whether it would be forced to halt production at any facilities.
So far, F-150 production is suspended at Ford's Kansas City assembly plant and also will be suspended at the Dearborn, Mich., truck plant at the end of the second shift Wednesday. Ford F-Series Super Duty production is down at its Kentucky Truck Plant, but continues at its Ohio assembly plant in Avon Lake.
Ford said it is working with suppliers to put bring production back up quickly. the company said the tools used to make the cast die components were salvaged from the Meridian facility and it is working with Meridian to move production to another of its plants in Ontario. The company also said it is working with other suppliers, which it declined to disclose.
--This story has been updated to reflect that Ford's shift away from cars is limited to North America.