Detroit Three Reduce Summer Shutdowns

Ford Truck line II

In order to meet the increasing demand for full-size pickups, Ford announced (Ford download the Ford press release here) it will reduce the usual summer shutdown at various F-Series plants. For example, this year the Kentucky Truck Plant will be down for only one week to allow for the production of more super-duty pickups.

These types of summer-break closures usually occur when regularly scheduled routine maintenance tasks are performed or when plants are reconfigured for model-year changeovers, but this type of work can also be completed during slower shift cycles.

According to reports, both General Motors and Chrysler are also reducing or eliminating paid summer shutdowns (which usually start around July 4) for workers in order to keep up with demand in select assembly and production plants throughout North America. Both companies have important new pickup and SUV models coming to market this year that could be jeopardized if availability cannot keep up with demand.



I hear GM was only considering it. Fiat and Ford already announced the reduced shutdown time.

Really neat to see the inside of the Ford plant. I see these big yellow electric fans. Honestly, I had always wondered how they keep the flies off the trucks in building. Most of the Fords I see around here are covered with flies. I wonder why.

@papa jim.....ouch! :)

Can't wait for SUMMER!!!!! Beach, woman, bikinis.

@papa jim, I guess a fly knows a good truck when he see's it. I saw a chebby the other day and it was covered in sh#t. The owner said it just gets browner and browner. Does it on its own he said.

@Frank you forgot cold beer and whiskey lol

@k, lol.

Yea whiskey is good.

When was this picture taken? I didn't think Ford still offered the Flareside box on the F-150.

@ Luke in CO - Good eye, I was wondering the same thing. I'm guessing 2009 as it wasn't an option in 2010.

@Lou: Yep, you're right, as far as I know:
The 2009 Flareside models can be compared to the 1987 Flaresides (the last "real" Flaresides with steel sides and a wood bed) in the sense that the beds and tailgates were held-over '08 stock, with new F-150 badges on the tailgate and new STX, FX2/4, or 4x4 decals on the bed.
This would be comparable to the 1987 beds, which were just 1986 beds with the new round '87 fenders, which were probably produced only as long as last year's stock of beds held out.

So it can be said undoubtedly that 1987 was the final year for real stepside-type beds with wood floors and steel sides, since both Ford and GM dropped theirs that year, and Dodge discontinued production of the Utiline bed in '85. Ford was the first to get rid of the 8-foot Flareside with the last "dentside" '79 models, but both Dodge and GM continued producing long-bed 1/2- and 3/4-ton Stepsides and Utilines up to the end. Dodge was also the last hold-out for the 9-foot Utiline 1-ton pickup in '74, IIRC. Both Ford and GM had dropped those with the last of their '72 models.

...Wait, this wasn't about Flareside beds in the first place, was it? Oh, imagine that, me getting off-topic. Well, I hope somebody enjoyed this.

How 'bout a good old-fashioned Step Side? Much more useful. Don't have to climb up into the bed as much.

@ Vulpine: Both GM's and Ford's stepsides after 1987 (AWA Toyota's, but theirs are little more than a footnote in the annals of truck history) are nothing more than narrowed straight-side beds, with barely three inches of step--more of a toehold than a foothold. Sure, they look good, and those tie-downs are really handy, but have the fiberglass stepsides ever actually been marketed towards the utility crowd? No, they've always been for the image crowd, usually either younger buyers (like a friend of mine with an '00 Silverado ext cab stepside--very sharp-looking), or occasionally the older buyer who wants something "like that old International that Gramps bought back in '62." Not that there's anything wrong with that, just not really my cup of tea.

And putting steps on the outside of the bedsides is irrelevant when even Ford's 4x2's are as tall in the back as the 4x4's. Coupled with the absurdly high bed sides, this is my biggest complaint with full-sized Fords made after 2004. Nope, it seems that the man-step (and those really neat-looking tuck-away side steps) is the way of the future.

A better-looking (and more functional, IMO) option would be to get a one-ton dually and put running boards all the way from the front fenders to the front of the back fenders. Something like this:
Not very feasible for most customer's pocketbooks, I know; or for going off-road at all either. But does it look mean or does it look mean?

It's just a "file" picture for illustration.

Wonder if this a good or bad thing for these workers. I'm sure they plan vacations during this time. And it's supposedly paid time off. Hopefully they still get some time with the family.

Actually. How does it work if your sick or on vacation. Is there a pool of people? Or split shifts. Obviously you have to know that assembly station to fill in.

Anyhow. It's good for all with the increased demand.

What ever happened to the little doors on the regular cab F150's? I remember Ford marketing this that they are going all four doors. Must've not gone well in regular cab trucks.

04-08 had the mini doors.

Ford dropped the mini doors on the 09 regular cabs, as well as the smaller main door that was on reg cab and supercrews for cost reasons, as well as simplicity coming down the assembly line.

For 2009 Ford also stretched the supercrew cab by 6" to accommodate the longer main door up front.

Before Ford had 5 different doors that they used depending on which cab, now they have 3 doors, much cheaper to mass produce 3 doors instead of trying to provide and order 5 doors.

yep and old file photo, and K that chebby you saw, that was a Chinese knock off!

Thanks Obama!

@sandman yeah maybe it was. The guy driving it said it had knocked off him several times.

GovtMoCo Should NOT BE ALLOWED to build Sierra trucks! Shut them Down PERMANENTLY! NO COMPANY NEEDS 2 Trucks! Not on OUR DIME.

Start seeing a pedestrian. It's really too late to start seeing a Neurologist.

Hey MoparMadness aka Nopargoathead you're beloved Chrysler mopar junk has been bailed out and help out by the US government two times in it's history! So if I were you I'd shut the hell up to stop looking so god damn retarded!


Realizing that the company would go out of business if it did not receive a significant amount of money to turn the company around, Iacocca approached the United States Congress on September 7, 1979 and asked for US$1.5 billion in loan guarantees. Congress reluctantly passed the "Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979" Pub.L. 96–185 on December 20, 1979 (signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on January 7, 1980), prodded by Chrysler workers and dealers in every congressional district who feared the loss of their livelihoods. The military then bought thousands of Dodge pickup trucks which entered military service as the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle M-880 Series. With such help and a few innovative cars, Chrysler would manage to avoid bankruptcy and slowly recover."

Lets not forget bout the 2008 bailout Ram = government Motors if you want to push the issue you dumb sh!t! Shut Chrysler and Ram down! They can't do anything right.

Ford should shut down their plants for at least a year. That would allow them to keep all of those ugly outdated trucks off of the road. They would be doing the USA citizens a favor.

@johnny doe--Thanks for the link to the history of Chrysler. Interesting and informative as are the histories of Ford and GM. The lesson to be learned from Chrysler, GM, and to some degree Ford is that you have to be flexible and adapt to market changes. Today trucks are doing well, but tomorrow it might be something else. You cannot put all your eggs in one basket. Determining the right mix of products and differentiating your products from the competition. This is harder to do than it appears. Also never take the competition for granted.

Japan also bailed out Toyota for decades. Honda was bailed out by Japan. Nissan is a Japanese bailout king, too.

JEFF S= What do you think Ford's strategy is by not bringing in the Ranger.It seems to me they are doing what you told Johnny Doe,not being flexible,not adapting,over looking the competition and putting all their eggs in one basket by staying with the F150.

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Even though you don't want tell the world, NHTSA is probing 400,000 Ford F-150 wit 3.5 L Ecoobost engine.
The probe is not Ford's only EcoBoost-related issue. Three unsatisfied owners in Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against Ford over what they call "serious latent design, manufacturing or assembly defects" with the direct-injected EcoBoost mill. The NHTSA's probe only includes the F-150, but the lawsuit claims that Taurus SHO sedans suffer from the same problems.

@jim mafungo, Wow 3 people??? Everyone I know who has an ecoboost is laughing at this claim. They've never had a problem with theirs and say they really love this engine. @ max fredicks, Yeah those ugly FORD trucks sure do sell a lot. They could shut down for a yr and still outsell all the rest but you tell me what kind of favor would that do the US citizens without a job?? How stupid are you anyways??????

Another fake Lou May 27, 2013 11:56:53 AM.

Nice to know that I've pissed off the trolls.

@don nc - you can thank things like the chicken tax and the huge profits made off of "domestic" pickups. Someone had said that 90% of Ford's profits come from their full sized trucks.
They aren't going to waterdown those profit margins by adding a "global" to the mix. It also costs billions to get the global Ranger certified to USA emission and safety standards. Why spend billions on a product that would just waterdown profit margins.

@don nc - here is an exerpt from a TTAC story on free trade. It shows the cost of meeting emissions and safety standards. Those emission and safety standards indirectly act like a tariff. Experts refer to it as "technical barriers to trade".

There is one part about free trade agreements automakers the world over love: A harmonization of standards. Biegun said that the cost of designing and producing according to separate EU and U.S. safety standards was between $3 billion and $6 billion, different environmental rules added a cost of $1.5-2 billion.

I've been getting flamed quite a bit lately for my posts so please feel free to check out the links I'm providing.

don nc,

We've been through this debate over and over here over the last year, but I'll summarize it for you.

Small pickup sales and the overall market are way down compared to just a few years ago. People who used to buy them as commuter vehicles because they were handy and cheap switched to crossovers and small cars and hybrids that got way better mileage. People who still needed a full sized pickup are still buying full sized pickups.

Ford North America opted out of the T6 world ranger early on because they still had both the F150 and the old Ranger. Later they were faced with a shrinking market and a big investment that would be required to update the ranger for new crash regulations, not to mention it was being produced in an old plant on a platform that was not shared with other current ford vehicles.

So the best decision for Ford was to cancel the current Ranger.

Why not bring the T6 world Ranger here? That's still a possibility, but Ford is also working on a new, lighter more fuel efficient F150 and if it's as dramatic an improvement as has been rumored then it will be more important to Ford's bottom line than a T6 Ranger which will steal existing F-150 sales and which won't be dramatically more fuel efficient.

Ford has to look at market trends, manufacturing facilities and the effect of T6 Ranger sales on other vehicles plus figure out where the resources would be diverted from to work on it. Bringing it here would be relatively easy from a task standpoint. Doing it and making money while not dropping the ball on other just as important or more important projects is WAY more difficult.


@don nc - here is something also from that previous link on the chicken tax. I've broken it up because this site's anti-spam software deletes my posts if I provide too many links on the same entry.
TTAC ""Refreshing honesty comes from a surprising camp. Four dozen democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to President Barak Obama, warning against a free trade agreement with Japan. The alleged closed market found only passing mention. The lawmakers don’t worry about exports to Japan. They are worried about imports from Japan. Says the letter:
“In an industry with razor-thin profit margins, the elimination of the 2.5 percent car tariff (as well as the 25 percent truck tariff) would be a major benefit to Japan without any gain for a vital American industry, leading to more Japanese imports, less American production and fewer American jobs.”
What Detroit is REALLY worried about is a fall of the Chicken Tax. Detroit has a near monopoly on trucks, which drive its profits."

In relation to the damage caused by the Chioken tax, here is an exerpt from The "American University International Law Review Volume 10 | Issue 3 Article 3 was actually a legal explanation of the antidumping dispute between Japan and the USA over minivans. It does explain the chicken tax and its effects on import trucks.

"In 1980, the United States "applied" the "chicken tax" tariff to imported Japanese trucks and cab chassis, which then became subject to a 25% tariff rate. 8 In 1984, the Japanese automobile industry challenged the United States classification of lightweight trucks and cab chassis as finished trucks because the new classification significantly increased the tariffs on Japanese imported lightweight trucks and cab chassis.' The Court of International Trade upheld the cab chassis classification and the 25% tariff and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the decision.' Once again, the cost to consumers was dramatic: over the next three years, this tariff led to more than a 23% increase in imported truck prices while the price of American-made compact trucks increased by 29%." Ironically, the Japanese auto industry remains the principal target of this tariff despite the chicken tariff's rather limited purpose and even though Japan imports more United States poultry products than any other country."

I've provided the link so you can verify yourself the information that I'm posting.

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do you have news about ford engine problem ecoboost ???

Lou - Ak =Thanks for the information. I don't keep up with all the laws but I have seen over the years what GM comes out with Ford has one to compete.The T6 is a really nicer looking truck to me than the F150.If the two GM trucks are a success then it looks like to me they will steel some F150 sales.I know Ford can bring the Ranger but that will take a lot of time and they will losing sales that they may not get back.If it cost all that much to bring them to the US, GM sure is taking a big chance.

Ak= If any of the big 3 gets their full size trucks to met CAFE standards they will have a big feather weight truck with a very small engine or a new source of power.I do not think gas or diesel will ever make it.

At the end of the day, I doubt Ford will bother with a Colorado compeitor because GM says the Colorado will be bigger than a Tacoma. What's the freakin' point? The Tacomas I see are not exactly small trucks.

This puts them uncomfortably close in size to the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. Most people would probably spend the extra money to buy the Silverado or Sierra. Or else the new trucks will steal sales from the (more profitable) Silverado and Sierra.

It just sounds like another GM boondoggle in their neverending search to sell more vehicles than anyone else regardless of profit margin.

I'm convinced that GM does not do business cases. They just sit around and come up with ways to build more vehicles.

The dirty secret about CAFE that nobody ever talks about is it can be delayed or simply eliminated/repealed. In the 80's CAFE was delayed when the automakers couldn't make the standard and there was talk of repealing it. Or they can just take the fine. My bet is the next administration will eliminate CAFE standards, which were a product of the 1970’s oil embargo, and don't work today and have a lot of unintended consequences. They really do more worse than good.

Ford has decided to stop making vehicles in Australia(I know you have similar concerns in Canada). General reaction has been extremely negative as regards the way it was handled and the effect on a regional City in Australia. On the same day the Head of Volvo engineering gave Volvo Australia a lot more money to expand its manufacturing operation in Brisbane making Volvo's(European modified spec) and Macks.
The Ranger was listed as the 8th best selling vehicle in Australia beaten by the Hilux and Navara. This decision and the now depreciating Australian Dollar will have a very negative effect on the Ranger. The reasons for Ford's closure can be summed up by poor management, High Australian Dollar and fickle attitudes of the buying public.

@Lou - The 1st thing you got wrong is your 'link' was talking about Japanese cars that went up in price, about 23%, not trucks. In 1981, and under pressure from the Reagan Admin, Japan voluntarily agreed (VRA) to limit car exports to the US to only 1.65 million cars. Japanese OEMs quickly doubled down on pickup truck exports since they were never part of the "agreement".

The VRA/limit set the stage for the whole mini-truck craze/fad/invasion with Japan strategically dumping cheap pickups on the US by the 100,000s.
It was perfect timing too. We were done with the muscle cars, custom/molester van and land yachts "fads", all of which were gas sucking pigs. And at a time, the whole Oil Embargo was still fresh on our minds and mini-trucks were obviously cheap and gas sippers on top of the latest "fad".

Japan also made the best of that export 'quota' by inventing luxury brands to export. Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and tarted up 929s and Diamantes.

By 1984, Chevy's S10 base price was $6,993 and Nissan's pickup was $5,634. Then by the mid to late '80s, Japanese OEMs had a handle on building cars in the US and luxo brands were taking hold. There was no reason to keep dumping cheap, less profitable pickups on US consumers, including their own car buyers.

The approx 23% price hike in Japanese cars, after '81 was caused by them being built in the US from about 25% US parts content. This cut profit margins by around $1,000 per car. Some import dealers were charging up to $2,000 over MSRP on some cars. Domestic dealers joined in the price gouging, but so did European brands. It's a good thing they did, just for the sake of normalizing Japanese car (selling) prices.

The "chassis cab" loophole ended in Jan, 1980, but what did that change? Yes import trucks became subject to the 25% tariff, but same as always. The Chicken tax wasn't in 'question' for trucks. The question was whether to hit 2-door SUVs with it. The Pathfinder, 4Runner, and others quickly found '4-doors', before it became an issue.

Then the SUV craze when absolute nutz... Sport cars, pony cars and sporty 2+2s came back with avengeance too. With a few compact 2-seaters thrown in. Convertibles also came back from a deep hibernation.

If there's any cause for 'worrying' from 'the end' of the Chicken tax, it would be from all OEMs that sell compact to mid-size cars and SUV, crossovers and wagens. Trucks from VW, GW, Proton, Isuzu and such, wouldn't really be in direct competition with full-size trucks. And they still have to meet DOT standards and of course, sell in quantities deemed profitable.. Even with zero tariffs. There's more cause for 'worrying' from those Tundra/Titans if not Tacomas/Frontiers. Might as well "worry" about that Chevy Colorado too!

Btw, my dad bought a new Nissan Hard Body stripper for under $6,000 w/ rebates, in '88. When it comes to "fads", he's always late to the party.

I still owe you the sources, but I always make 'good'. There's a heap of them.

@Robert Ryan - As you have seen time and time again on this site, certain attitudes about superiority or self importance in relation to the globe exists. Exceptionalism is an ideal/belief that permeates the minds of the great unwashed. If it is endemic at that level, it definitely is prevalent among the Captain's of industry.
At the time of the industry bailouts, both GMC and Chrysler had threatened to pull out of Canada if we didn't provide funds to the Canadian arm of the industry.
I suspect that we will gradually see a shift from Canada to Mexico. Our workers are more costly than their USA counterparts and are definitely head and shoulders above the cost of Mexican labour.
As I have previously posted, the USA auto industry and many democratic leaders are terrified of a Free Trade agreement with Japan. Japan would kill the USA auto sector if they could export to the USA tariff free pickups (25% duty) and cars (2.5% duty).
Ford will figure out a way to exploit FTA's with Australia and boost profits.

@AK - GMC may be worried that their current full sized engine lineup will not meet future CAFE rules so they will bring in the Colorado to boost their numbers. If it is bigger than the current Tacoma, it will be classified as a full sized truck. It will be their "ringer". GMC continues to show that they believe #1 in sales is all that matters even though they are making small profits relative to the competition.

@Don nc - your welcome. The truth speaks for itself.

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"Ak= If any of the big 3 gets their full size trucks to met CAFE standards they will have a big feather weight truck with a very small engine or a new source of power.I do not think gas or diesel will ever make it."

Don, You don't think trucks will get 18 mpg in 2015? The 2014 Silverado gets 19 mpg combined. It not only meets it, it already beats the stupid CAFE standards.

What we need to realize is CAFE standard number does not equal what the EPA window sticker will state.

For example, CAFE calls for 30 mpg in 2025. The 30 mpg is calculated in a lab and is considered a bad predictor of fuel economy. Therefore the 30 mpg is only equal to 23 mpg on the window sticker.

Likewise in 2015, the standard requirement is 23.5 mpg combined, which is only 18 on the window sticker which many full-size trucks will be beating in 2014.

We should get rid of the CAFE standards and make vehicles people want to buy.

"GMC may be worried that their current full sized engine lineup will not meet future CAFE rules so they will bring in the Colorado to boost their numbers."

The 2014 5.3 which is 75% of sales already meets or beats CAFE. In 2025 it only needs to go from the current 19 to 23. That is if CAFE is still around in 2025. I don't believe it will be.

@Bob - thanks for the information but CAFE is a fleet average. I doubt that the 6.2 will be setting any mpg records.
CAFE is an ineffective means to and end since it is highly politicized. The best way would be to increase taxes on fuel. That would generate revenue to fix the crumbling infrastructure and would have the benefit of allowing the market place sort itself out.
No one likes increased taxes but it is bound to happen as debt piles up.

More fake Lou spam @ May 27, 2013 10:29:13 PM

Nice to know that I have friends in low places.

We don’t have a lack of taxation problem. We have a spending and more importantly priority problem.

We have plenty of money being collected. We’re just spending it on the wrong things, and leaving the important things unfunded.

Tax gas more and this will just bring more money that they SPEND any way they way. And then they’ll still complain about lack of funds and want more.

It will just bring more money that they SPEND any way they way. And then they’ll want more...

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