A fire that damaged a Michigan auto parts supply factory is causing production problems at Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors, but it's too early to say if dealers are running out.
Ford has been hit hardest by parts shortage. The company had to temporarily lay off 7,600 workers as it cuts production of the F-Series pick truck, the best-selling vehicle in America.
But General Motors was forced to halt the production of large vans at a factory in Missouri and the production of Fiat Chrysler's Pacifica minivan was curtailed in Windsor, Ontario
It was all due to a May 2 fire that hit the Major plant of the Meridian Magnesium Products of America factory in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, near Lansing heavily damaged that makes structural parts, of which about one third goes to Ford. Several automakers have turned to Meridian to produce light alloy parts as they try to shed pounds to meet government fuel efficiency standards. Ford Commits to Renew Product Line Adds SUVs by 2020 “class =”
On Wednesday, Ford announced it would suspend F-150 and Super Duty recording production in Kansas City, Missouri, Dearborn, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky Temporary layoffs took place in Kansas City and Dearborn, while workers in Louisville, Kentucky, who built the Super Duty, switch to major Lincoln and Ford SUVs, which are also manufactured at the plant.
Ford says it works with suppliers to handle the Limit the impact on production. "We are confident that the impact will be short-term," said Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, in a statement.  The company said it still has a clock selection of trucks in the US. At the current sales rate, Ford Motor Co. has enough trucks to last 84 days.
The company said Wednesday that parts shortages and production cuts will have a short-term impact on earnings, but Ford is stuck all year. Adjusted earnings per share were $ 1.45 to $ 1.70.
While the auto industry has often mastered parts of natural disasters and fires in the past, it could be more difficult this time because there are only a few companies producing magnesium parts. Kristen Dziczek, Vice President of Industry, Labor & Economics Group of Center for Automotive Research
"There is a great demand for these lightweight materials," she said. Everyone needs it, everyone wants it, and the supply chain is not ready for that kind of volume. "
Equipment that has not been damaged needs to be relocated and the automakers must find another place to get magnesium castings, said Dziczek. Meridian has other buildings in Eaton Rapids and another magnesium factory in Ontario, but it's unclear how much volume they can accommodate, she said.
Thursday, a message was given to the officials of Meridian.
Fiat Chrysler confirmed that Pacifica production was affected, but said that no workers had been fired. Instead, they will do more of an older minivan as the company works with Meridian to get more Pacifica parts.
Spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said FCA does not expect major production shutdowns in any factories except Windsor.
But a union official at a huge Jeep Wrangler SUV plant in Toledo, Ohio, says it's possible that some weekend overtime could be cut due to part shortage. Mark Epley, chairman of the Jeep unit for United Auto Workers Local 12, said Thursday that they have parts and are still running 10-hour shifts. "This weekend could be a different story," he said.
At GM in Wentzville, Missouri, the company was forced to reduce production of the large GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express vans. But the workers there have focused on building mid-sized pickup trucks that leave the same assembly line, said spokesman Nick Richards. It is not clear how long the van production will be suspended, he said.
Ford expects to continue super production at a factory in Avon Lake, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The cause of the fire in the Meridian plant is not known. The authorities said there were explosions and two workers were injured. People reported seeing the explosions miles away.
John Seewer contributed to this report from Toledo, Ohio.