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Ford will keep its Claycomo plant running longer this summer

Ford F-150 aluminum alloy bodies moved down the assembly line earlier this year at the Ford Claycomo plant.
Ford F-150 aluminum alloy bodies moved down the assembly line earlier this year at the Ford Claycomo plant. The Kansas City Star

Ford Motor Co. will ramp up production at Claycomo and some of its other plants this summer to meet demand for the redesigned F-150 pickup and other vehicles.

This will be the third consecutive year the automaker plans to shorten the traditional summer shutdown from two weeks to one.

Claycomo and five other assembly plants, as well as supporting powertrain and stamping plants, will shut down for one week beginning June 29. One of the stamping plants is here.

The company said it will produce almost an additional 40,000 trucks, SUVs and other vehicles this summer with plants open the additional week.

The Claycomo plant, which is one of two that build the aluminum-body F-150, started making the truck in mid-March. The other plant, in Dearborn, Mich., began production of Ford’s best-selling vehicle late last year. The Dearborn plant also will be closed for one week the end of June.

Claycomo, which also builds the Transit van, has 7,485 employees, including 7,189 hourly workers.

Ford said it sold 61,870 F-150s in May, down about 10 percent from a year earlier. However, the company said it had only about half of its normal inventory at the beginning of last month, which limited sales opportunities.

There also was a report that a shortage of frames hampered production at Claycomo and Dearborn.

An official with the United Auto Workers told The Detroit News last week that a lack of truck frames from a supplier in Kentucky forced Ford to cut recent weekend overtime shifts at the two pickup truck plants. The problem had been going on for several months, according to the official.

However, another UAW official told the newspaper that the situation had been corrected.

Ford issued a statement Tuesday saying it hopes to be at full production at Claycomo this quarter. The company is already at full production at its Dearborn plant.

“As with all our vehicle launches, we are working closely with our suppliers to meet customer demand for the truck,” the company said.

Despite the tight supplies, Ford said that F-150s were sitting on dealer lots for an average of 26 days and that the average sales price set a record in May.

Ford said sales of the Transit commercial van were up 38 percent in May from April, marking its best month since launching last June.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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