Once the new Mustang is launched, Flat Rock can more effectively balance its production mix, the auto maker says.
Joe Hinrichs (right) and UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles launch Fusion at Flat Rock last August.
CHICAGO – There's an imbalance of production at’s Flat Rock, MI, plant, where both the Fusion and Mustang are assembled, but it will be short lived, says Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of the Americas for Ford.
shifted some Fusion production to Flat Rock in August to meet escalating demand for the sedan and soak up unused capacity at the facility. Previously, the car was built solely in Mexico.
But since then, Fusion sales have cooled, with inventories rising to a 97-day supply at the end of January, despite two weeks of downtime at the Flat Rock plant during the month and 3-weeks of shutdowns at the Hermosillo, Mexico, facility so far this year.
Flat Rock utilization ran at only 43% in 2013, but a WardsAuto forecast calls for that to increase to 68% with Fusion added to the mix for the full year.
Production of Mustangs at the plant also has been declining as Ford prepares to launch the all-new ’15 model this fall. Flat Rock is expected to end output of the existing model June 27 and launch the new version July 7, following a week of downtime to complete retooling.
Hinrichs is confident that will remedy the capacity-utilization issues at the Michigan operation.
“We are going to address the Mustang issue this fall,” Hinrichs tells WardsAuto on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show. “There's more capacity (for) Fusion than there are sales right now, but once the new Mustang is launched we'll rebalance production and produce more Mustangs.”