Ford Motor Co. is shutting down production of its highly profitable 2021 F-150 pickup trucks and Transit Vans for a full week in Missouri, the company confirmed Feb. 15.
"Due to unseasonably cold temperatures in the midsection of the United States, Ford was warned that the availability of natural gas could be restricted in the Kansas City area in the coming days," said Kelli Felker, global manufacturing and labor communications manager.
"To ensure we minimize our use of natural gas that is critical to heat people’s homes, we have decided to cancel operations," she said.
The closure at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, MO, began Feb. 14. Ford expects to return to normal operations Feb. 22. The plant employs approximately 7,300 UAW hourly workers.
During the down time, they will receive approximately 75% of their gross pay.
Ford is the largest employer of hourly automotive workers in the U.S.
This winter weather storm is the latest disruption for Ford, which has had to cut shifts building the F-150 to accommodate a global semiconductor chip shortage.
Most recently, Ford cut a scheduled overtime shift at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville on Feb. 13 that would have built Super Duty, Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
The F-Series is the biggest revenue generator for Ford, producing an estimated $50 billion in sales annually. The trucks are second only to the Apple iPhone in terms of branded consumer product sales.
Natural gas companies in Missouri have urged all customers in recent days to...
...reduce their use of heat as much as possible. Bitter cold has sent both gas demand and gas prices soaring, while also creating supply issues such as frozen gas wells, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“It’s just straining the entire system,” said Scott Carter, president of Spire Missouri, the St. Louis-based natural gas utility.
Spire issued a statement asking customers to reduce consumption while Ameren, the St. Louis-based energy monopoly, issued a similar request, the Post-Dispatch said.