Ford, Chrysler Reducing Summer Shutdowns To Meet Demand

To keep up with increasing demand for new cars, Ford and Chrysler will cut their traditional two-week summer shutdowns at some factories. In addition, Ford will run several plants at full speed to build an extra 200,000 vehicles this summer.

Ford says that reducing the normal two-week summer shutdown at six assembly plants will add the equivalent of 40,000 extra new cars. Affected assembly plants comprise those in Chicago, Illinois; Cuautitlan, Mexico; Hermosillo, Mexico; Louisville, Kentucky; Wayne, Michigan (pictured above); and Oakville, Ontario.

In addition, Ford will run three-crew or four-crew patterns at several plants, running them at full speed, to build 200,000 vehicles more than planned. That will occur at plants in Chicago, Illinois; Flat Rock, Michigan; and Claycomo, Missouri (Kansas City). Cars targeted for increase production include the Fusion sedan, Explorer crossover, and F-Series truck.

“To meet surging customer demand for our top-selling cars, utilities and trucks, we are continuing to run our North American facilities at full manned capacity,” Ford manufacturing vice president Jim Tetreault said in a statement.

Chrysler, meanwhile, plans to run the following factories at full speed all summer, with no shutdown: Jefferson North, which builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango; Connor Avenue, which builds the SRT Viper; and Toledo North, which is preparing for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Other factories will shut for just one week, instead of two, this summer: Belvidere, Illinois; Toluca, Mexico; and Saltillo, Mexico.

“In order to meet demand of some of the Company’s most popular products, several Chrysler Group LLC assembly plants will not observe a summer shutdown,” the automaker said in a statement.

The decision to ramp up production is good news, as it shows that Ford and Chrysler vehicles are in high demand. Through April, Ford Motor Company sales were up 12.7 percent compared to the first four months of 2012. Chrysler Group sales for the first four months of 2013 are up nine percent compared to the same period in 2012. Both Ford and Chrysler also reduced their summer shutdowns last year.

It’s unclear whether General Motors will also reduce its summer shutdowns or increase production capacity. A spokesman told Automotive News that the company “does things a bit differently” because, “Today, plant downtime is driven more by specific vehicles’ life cycles and market demand.”

Sources: Ford, Chrysler, Automotive News

By Jake Holmes

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