Ford Adds Extra Shifts to Produce More Cars for U.S.
Ford Motor Co. is all set to add extra shifts to produce more cars at a plant it shares with Mazda Motor Corp as the automaker dropped 1.4 points of U.S. market share in the first quarter of this fiscal year. It seems Ford underestimated the strength of the U.S. market and hence it decided to add extra shifts. Ford will also speed up the line at a factory that currently runs on three shifts. “The market got a little bit ahead of us. Most of our production actions and capacity increases take place in the second half of this year,” said Mark Fields — Ford’s president of America. He believes that the actions that he is going to put forward will help the automaker a little until late this year.
The officials at Ford however, admit that it will lose share this year, rather than hold steady as they expected earlier. But still Field hopes that vehicles such as redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion sedan and Escape crossover will help Ford gain share. Even though Field talks about production capacity, he’s also trying to ensure that Ford has enough factory flexibility to respond to shifts in consumer demand. For instance, the automaker is planning to have its Hermosillo, Mexico, plant back up to three shifts producing the 2013 Fusion later this year. It is also expected that by the end of this year, the plant will build all five Fusion powertrain configurations — three gasoline engines, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Hermosillo builds the Lincoln MKZ sedan as well.
By next year, Ford will add the 2013 Fusion and a second shift at the AutoAlliance International Inc. plant in Flat Rock, Mich., south of Detroit, which Mazda co-owns, which targets to make gasoline-engines of the Fusion. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Mazda will continue its role in the plant. However, the Japanese automaker made clear that it will maintain its half ownership of the factory and has not decided to build another vehicle in the plant after Mazda6. Ford Mustang will be developed in this plant. Ford offers three four-cylinder gasoline engine options: a 1.6-liter EcoBoost, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost and a normally aspirated 2.5-liter engine.