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Ford idles Mustang plant, Louisville truck plant in wake of Japanese earthquake

It has been almost a full month since the earthquake, tsunami and string of nuclear explosions rocked the Japanese auto industry and this week, Ford Motor Company has stopped production for the week of April 4th at their Louisville truck plant and the Flat Rock Mustang plant due to part shortages from Japanese suppliers.
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Ford announced this downtime during a company sales meeting this past Friday, beginning today and running through the week at the Louisville Kentucky Assembly plant and the Flat Rock facility that Ford shares with Mazda. Along with producing the popular F-Series pickup, Louisville also builds the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUV.

The company cited that it isn’t that big of an issue right now, as high gas prices are slowing truck sales and a healthy stock of new Mustangs will keep dealership demand fulfilled until production starts back up next week. As usual, Ford declined to tell anyone exactly what part they are running short on, but with the company sitting on more than twice the number of Mustangs that they want to have and an expected slow of Truck sales, Ford is conserving parts as they evaluate their supply situation. Ford has stated that so far, there is no change in their projected production levels for 2011.

Ford looks to be in good shape in terms of vehicles on hand but analysts expected that the full impact of the Japanese earthquake on the industry would take a while to hit. This announcement from Ford does not give a clear idea as to whether or not this downtime at the F-Series and Mustang plants is due to the Japanese disasters. However, it could be a sign of things to come as automakers continue to hold on to parts from external suppliers in an apparent attempt to brace for the full shock of the earthquake on the industry.

The good news for Ford is that the F-Series saw a healthy rise in March sales (25%) and the Mustang climbed out of a rough February, posting sales of 8,557 last month for a gain of 47%. Hopefully as we head into spring, more buyers will be looking to get into a new Mustang but will Ford be able to meet the demand?

TorqueNews.com will continue covering the impact of the Japanese state of emergency and the impact on the automotive industry.

Source: The Detroit News

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