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Old 04-29-2006, 05:45   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford to resume production Monday after shutting down 7 plants

Ford to resume production Monday after shutting down 7 plants

Factories were idled Friday by problem with engine transmission part, affecting 15,000 workers

DEE-ANN DURBIN / AP Auto Writer

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to resume production at seven idled plants on Monday after fixing a problem that was discovered in its engine transmissions, a spokeswoman for the automaker said Friday.

Ford halted production at the plants late Thursday, idling about 15,000 workers. The plants remained closed Friday while Ford worked with its supplier to pinpoint the problem.

The glitch was identified in a testing of a clutch mechanism in a four-speed, rear-wheel-drive automatic transmission, spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said. The mechanism makes the vehicles shift smoothly between first and second gears.

Gattari would not identify the supplier.

Affected Ford vehicles included F-150 pickups, Expedition sport utility vehicles, E-Series vans and buses and the Lincoln Town Car, Gattari said. Ford said no customers have bought the affected vehicles.

"We have no indication that trucks in the hands of customers are affected. At this point we believe we've contained the issue internally," Gattari said.

Three plants were shut down in Michigan, including Dearborn Truck, Michigan Truck and Wixom Assembly, along with plants in Norfolk, Va., Avon Lake, Ohio, and Cuautitlan, Mexico, Gattari said. The truck side of Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo., also was shut down.

Ford will lose a little more than one day of production, since the plants would have been closed Saturday and Sunday. But even one day can be costly for the Dearborn-based automaker.

Greg Gardner, a spokesman Troy-based Harbour Consulting, a manufacturing consulting group, said it's unusual for a company to shut down this many plants at once. But he said if Ford has enough vehicles in its inventory, it should have no problem in getting them to dealerships. Ford had a 107-day inventory of F-Series pickups at the end of March.

JPMorgan auto analyst Himanshu Patel estimated the company produces more than 4,300 vehicles per day at the affected plants. He said the shutdown could cost the automaker $34.4 million per day before taxes.

Gattari wouldn't comment on those figures, but said all production will be made up at a later date. Gattari said the only cost to Ford will be the overtime necessary to make up production. She wouldn't say how much Ford will have to pay in overtime.

"This is not lost production by any means," she said. "We have the capacity to make up the volume and we will."

Ford shares fell 15 cents, or 2.1 percent, to close at $6.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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