Ford Motor Co. (F: Quote) said Tuesday it will cut its customary summer break in half at a number of U.S. plants in an effort to produce 40,000 new vehicles.
Ford said it will now idle 13 of its plants, including six assembly facilities, for just one week instead of the customary two. The move is seen as another sign of strong demand for U.S. automobiles.
Ford said the reduction in idling time is owing to flexibility provided by the UAW-Ford national contract agreement.
The summer production boost is part of plans to raise annual production capacity by 400,000 units, Ford said.
"We are working most of our North America plants at maximum capacity and we are adding production shifts in three of our assembly plants this month alone," said Jim Tetreault, vice president of North America Manufacturing.
"Requiring more capacity from our plants is a good problem to have and having the flexibility to add a week of production in our plants goes a long way toward solving it."
Ford said the assembly plants taking a shutdown this summer include Chicago Assembly, Dearborn Truck, Kentucky Truck, Louisville Assembly, Michigan Assembly and Kansas City Assembly. Other plants being idled include Dearborn Engine, Chicago Stamping, Lima Engine, Essex Engine.
A two-week shutdown is a routine affair for U.S. automakers which use that time to make suitable changes to machinery in order to gear up for future demand and model changes.
Ford which is the U.S.'s second largest automaker was less affected by the 2008 financial crisis than many of its peers. It also did not have to restructure with federal assistance. The company has posted a profit for each of its last twelve quarters.
Ford earlier this month reported a 5 percent decline in U.S. vehicles sales in April 2012, hurt by fewer selling days and weaker fleet sales. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford sold 180,350 units in the U.S. in April, compared to 189,778 units last year. For March 2012, Ford had reported a 5 percent increase in U.S. sales.
F is trading at $10.54, down $0.12 or 1.11%, on a volume of 27 million shares on the NYSE. In the past year, the stock has traded in a range $9.05 - $15.35.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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