Ford Idles 5 Plants Amid Slowing Sales -- WSJ
By Christina Rogers
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (September 20, 2017).
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will temporarily idle production lines at five North American plants, including three in the U.S., the latest in a series of moves by U.S. auto makers to cope with slowing vehicle sales and rising industry capacity.
Ford said it is scheduling downtime at the factories to whittle down unsold-car inventory on dealer lots. Collectively, these five assembly plants, two of which are in Mexico, employ more than 12,000 workers, who will be put on temporarily layoff during the down weeks. The production hiatus ranges from one to three weeks, depending on the factory.
The move mostly affects factories building Ford's passenger cars, including the subcompact Fiesta and bread-and-butter Fusion sedan, whose sales have been hit hard by the shift in consumer demand to larger crossovers and SUVs.
Ford is also taking down a line at its Kansas City Assembly plant, where it builds the Transit van, to fix a recall disclosed in June.
Ford executives have signaled throughout the year that production cuts may be needed to counter slowing U.S. sales. While it has largely resisted permanent layoffs, opting instead to schedule downtime when needed, the company's inventory levels have crept up in recent months.
General Motors Co., meanwhile, has cut thousands of jobs this year at several passenger-car plants in the U.S. in response to a pullback in consumer demand for small cars and family sedans.
"We are continuing to match production with consumer demand, as we always do," Ford said.