June 2, 2015 / 4:01 AM / 3 years ago

Ford to make 40,000 more vehicles by cutting summer downtime

* Ford cutting week from shutdowns at six assembly plants

* Ford launching new version of Sync 3 this summer

* Sync 3 to go in Escape, Fiesta models

DETROIT, June 2 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said it will produce nearly 40,000 additional vehicles by reducing summer shutdowns at its North American plants to one week from two.

Six assembly plants and 10 plants that feed into them will be affected, it said on Tuesday.

The assembly plants produce some of Ford’s top-selling models, including the highly profitable F-150 pickup truck as well as sports utilities Explorer, Edge and Escape. The F-150 has been the top-selling model in North America since the 1970s.

The plants affected include one each in Chicago; Dearborn, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; two in Louisville, Kentucky; and one in Oakville, Ontario.

Ford also said Tuesday it will launch the new version of its Sync infotainment system, Sync 3, as an option on 2016 Ford Escape compact sport utilities and Fiesta small cars that go on sale this summer.

Ford said in December that it planned to replace the current Sync, based on software developed by Microsoft Corp with a new system based on smartphone maker Blackberry Ltd’s QNX software.

Pricing for the new system will vary. On the Escape SE model, Sync 3 will be part of a package of features with a list price of $1,395, Ford said. It will be standard on the higher priced Titanium Escape models. Cars with older Sync systems will not be able to be upgraded to the new system. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Joseph White; Editing by Richard Chang)

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