Last week, on May 22nd, an explosion caused a major fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, severely damaging the factory. This plan supplies moulded parts to a number of automotive manufacturers for a range of models, including the Ford F-150 truck.
Ford has halted production of that model at its assembly plant in Kansas City, which employs 3,600 people, and will likely follow suit at its Dearborn, Michigan facility this week, where 4,000 workers are employed.
Taken together, Ford will be forced to delay regular weekly delivery of 15,000 vehicles. More ominously, analysts are saying that delays could continue for several weeks.
The supply problem has also affected the other two big American manufacturers, FCA and General Motors, as well as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But the problem for Ford in particular is that the F-150 is its most profitable product. Financial firm Morgan Stanley recently evaluated that the value of the franchise was higher than that of the rest of the company. The two assembly plants that manufacture the F-150 generate a combined $40 billion in revenue annually.