May 9, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 16 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Ford halts F-series, Super Duty production due to parts shortage

(Corrects spelling of Ford spokeswoman’s last name to Felker in paragraph 5)

By Joseph White

DETROIT, May 9 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it has halted production of some of its most profitable vehicles, the F-150 and Super Duty pickup trucks, at two U.S. factories after a fire at a supplier plant that produces parts for the trucks.

Production of F-150 pickups at a third Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, could be idled Wednesday or Thursday, people familiar with the situation said.

It was not clear how long the production disruptions will last. A Ford spokeswoman said on Wednesday the automaker is working closely with the supplier to get production restarted.

A fire last week at the plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, operated by Meridian Lightweight Technologies disrupted production of parts used in the F-150 and Super Duty trucks.

Production of the Super Duty at Ford’s Kentucky truck plant will run “day to day,” based on the availability of parts, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. Super Duty production was halted on Wednesday.

The F-150 is Ford’s top-selling model, and the Super Duty is one of the automaker’s most profitable vehicles. A two-week production halt for the F-150 could slice as much as $310 million from Ford’s second-quarter profits, Buck Research analyst Joseph Amaturo wrote in a note Wednesday.

Ford could make up some of the lost production later in the year by running overtime.

It was not clear whether other automakers could face production shutdowns because of the damage at the Meridian plant.

Ford and Meridian could relocate production equipment dedicated to the Ford trucks from the damaged plant, and set it up elsewhere.

Automakers use magnesium parts to cut weight in vehicles, and improve fuel economy. (Reporting by Joe White Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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