Ford to suspend output at four plants, including for F-150

By By Bernie WoodallFeaturesReuters

In a fresh sign of pressure on U.S. automakers, Ford Motor Co on Monday said it will shut down production of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck for a week at a Kansas City assembly plant, and temporarily idle three other plants over the next several weeks.

The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle model in North America, and a key profit-maker for Ford. However, sales of the overall F-series pickup model line fell nearly 3 per cent in September. Ford dealers had a heavy 95 days' supply of the pickups on their lots at the end of September, according to data compiled by Automotive News.

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F-150 production at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan will continue without interruption, Ford said.

"During our second quarter financial call, we said we expected the overall retail industry to decline in the second half of the year from the same period last year. We also said to expect to see some production adjustments in the second half - this is one of them. We continue matching production to meet demand," said Kelli Felker, Ford spokeswoman.

Ford is also suspending production of two sport utility vehicles, the Ford Escape and the Lincoln MKC, at its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky for two of the next three weeks. The compact Escape, one of Ford's most popular models, is under increasing pressure from Japanese rivals.

Ford said it also is shutting two plants in Mexico. One is a plant in Hermosillo that makes the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ sedans, and the other is in Cuautitlan that makes the Ford Fiesta small car.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Joseph White)