Mustang Plant Among Ford Factories Taking Time Off

Updated on
  • Drivers shunning sedans forces down time at five auto plants
  • Mexican facility making Fiesta will be idled for three weeks

A Mustang on the production line in Flat Rock, Michigan, on Jan. 3, 2017.

Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

Ford Motor Co. is cutting production at five North American factories before the end of the year to keep inventory from swelling as U.S. auto sales decline for the first time in eight years.

The second-largest U.S. automaker is planning the most down time -- three weeks -- at its Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico that makes the Fiesta subcompact.

It’s also scheduling two weeks off at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico producing the Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ, its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan that builds the Mustang and Lincoln Continental, and the part of its Kansas City Assembly Plant making the Transit commercial van. Its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, which produces the Focus compact and C-Max hybrid, will be idle for a week.

“We are continuing to match production with customer demand,” Kelli Felker, a company spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “We are on track for our dealer inventories to remain at planned levels by year-end.”

U.S. sales are down 30 percent this year for Ford’s Mustang sports car and 27 percent for its Fusion sedan as drivers increasingly choose sport-utility vehicles and pickups, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Transit van sales are off 21 percent amid a recall that has commercial fleet buyers holding off while Ford fixes faulty drive shafts.

“Cars remain a very tough segment for the industry as we will continue to see people shift into SUVs,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s U.S. sales chief, said in a conference call with analysts earlier this month. “There is no doubt about that continued trend. It’s really a five-year trend at this point.”

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