The Ford Mustang plant could be in trouble
The Auto Alliance production facility in Flat Rock, Michigan currently produces the Ford Mustang and the Mazda6 but Mazda has recently announced that it would shift that production from Flat Rock to one of their Japanese production facilities. They have not announced what their plans are for the Auto Alliance plant once the Mazda6 has moved out but should the Japanese automaker opt to remove themselves from the equation at the Flat Rock plant – Ford may not be able to sustain the facility with just the Mustang alone. The plant current runs only on shift to build the Mazda6 and the Mustang.
While it is romantic to think of the mighty Ford Mustang having its own stable in Flat Rock, Ford sold just under 74,000 Mustangs in 2010 and so far this year, the pony car is 2.8% behind where they were after May of 2010. This means that Ford is on pace to sell fewer Mustangs in 2011 than in 2010 and with the Flat Rock plant having an annual capacity of 240,000 units – the Mustang would take up about a third of the plant’s total capacity. Based on those numbers, it might be hard for Ford to justify keeping the plant running strictly for the Mustang but as the Mazda6 moves out; Ford could use the extra room to build additional models at the Auto Alliance plant.
One thing that could help Ford and the Flat Rock facility is the rumor that 2014 will bring about the next generation of the Ford Mustang. Rumors suggest that the 50th anniversary edition Mustang in 2014 could be smaller and more capable to fit into more global markets. The ability to sell the Mustang in more markets around the world could help Ford keep the Flat Rock plant busy but even if Ford could double the demand for the Mustang – 140,000 units is still well under the capacity of the Auto Alliance plant.
Should Ford be forced to move the production of the Mustang to another facility, it could be the second time that Ford Motor Company has shut down this facility; having closed what was previously an engine facility in the 1970s. Ford has stated that they are in discussions with both Mazda and the UAW about the future of the Flat Rock plant. The Mustang moved its production to the Auto Alliance facility in 2005 after its previous home in Dearborn was shut down.
Source: Automotive News