Ford has been eager to mitigate claims it is being forced to delay the shipment of some F-150 pickups from Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan because of a parts supply shortage.
The plant is shipping trucks now and has been continually for the past two weeks,” company spokesperson Anne Marie Gattari told Automotive Logistics News. “That timing is according to our launch plan, and as such, the truck production process is on track.”
But, at the same time, the company does admit that a small percentage of trucks are awaiting an unspecified part, which it stresses is not unusual during production. It clarified the situation, stating that that some vehicles are being held until the parts are delivered in while the rest are being shipped.
The company would not confirm which part was involved or from which company it was being supplied.
Many of the 2011 F-150 pickups due for US distribution are being held in storage areas around the Dearborn site, which makes around two-thirds of the company’s output of the model, but rather than being a problem related to the parts delay this is part of the company’s normal logistics strategy according to the company.
“Dearborn Truck Plant, like all of our plants launching a new vehicle, built an inventory of trucks before we began shipping,” confirmed Gattari. “This enables us to ship quantities at a time and more quickly fill dealer orders. All of this is part of our normal manufacturing and quality processes. Distribution is running smoothly. Further, there are no unfinished trucks stored in the area.”
Last year Ford reinstated three production shifts at its Dearborn assembly plant (and at the Kansas City plant) to meet demand for the F-series of pickups, which are on target to finish 2010 as the best-selling vehicle in the US market for the 34th consecutive year.
Ford expects that four new engines in its 2011 F-series pickups will help it increase its sales next year. The base version of the F-150 will feature a 3.7-litre V6 engine, which is expected to raise fuel economy ratings across its lineup because of its high sales volume. Ford also began shipping 5-liter and 6.2-liter V8 pickup trucks. Production of Ford's much-anticipated 3.5-liter, turbo-charged "Ecoboost" F-150 pickup will begin in early 2011.
Shipment to dealers from the Dearborn plant and its storage areas near Detroit began last week, mainly by rail, and the Kansas City plant began shipping on Thursday, Ford said.