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Chicago Assembly Plant to idle for most of July because of semiconductor shortage
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Chicago Assembly Plant to idle for most of July because of semiconductor shortage

Chicago Assembly Plant to idle for most of July because of semiconductor shortage

Ford Explorers roll off the assembly line at the Chicago Assembly Plant in this 2019 photo.

Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant will be idled for most of July with production cutbacks stretching into August because of the worldwide semiconductor shortage.

Thousands of local auto workers will again be out of work, both at the automotive factory at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. on the banks of the Calumet River in Hegewisch and at auto suppliers through the Region.

The Chicago Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of July 5, 12, 19 and 26, Ford Manufacturing & Labor Communications Manager Kelli Felker said. It will run two shifts instead of three around the clock the week of Aug. 2.

"The global semiconductor shortage continues to affect global automakers and other industries in all parts of the world," Felker said. "While we continue to manufacture new vehicles, we’re prioritizing completing our customers’ vehicles that were assembled without certain parts due to the industry-wide semiconductor shortage. This is in line with our commitment to get our customers their vehicles as soon as possible and consistent with our forecasted supply."

Ford made 1.7 million cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States in 2020, or 188,000 more than any other automaker, accounting for about one in five vehicles manufactured in the U.S., according to IHS Markit's 2020 light vehicle production and sales data.

The semiconductor shortage that was initially caused by the coronavirus pandemic and since exacerbated by weather events and other factors is disrupting Ford operations all over the country.

The Dearborn Truck Plant will run only two crews the weeks of July 12, 19 and 26, Felker said. The Flat Rock Assembly Plant will be idled the weeks of July 12 and 19, while the Hermosillo Assembly Plant will run only one of two shifts during those weeks. 

The Kansas City Assembly Plant will stop making the F-150 pickup during the weeks of July 12 and 19 and then stop making the Transit the week of July 19.

Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant will be idled the week of July 12 and reduced to just two shifts the weeks of July 19, 26 and Aug. 2. The Louisville Assembly Plant will operate on a reduced schedule the week of July 19, while the Oakville Assembly Complex will make only the Nautilus the weeks of July 19, 26 and Aug. 2

Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant also will be down the weeks of July 5 and 26, but the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said that's due to an unrelated part shortage.

"Our teams continue making the most of our available semiconductor allocation, finding unique solutions to provide as many high-quality vehicles as possible to our dealers and customers," Felker said.

Coming Sunday, see a day in the life of Michigan City Police Officer Brian Wright.

Ford makes the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles and the Police Interceptor Utility at the 97-year-old, 2.8 million-square-foot Chicago Assembly Plant, which employs 5,810 workers in Hegewisch. The Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights about five miles west of the state line on U.S. 30 employs another 1,290 workers.

The auto factory on Chicago's far South Side operates on a "just-in-time" basis, meaning that it only needs shipments of parts while it is assembling vehicles. Its shutdown affects suppliers across the Region, including Lear Corp. in Hammond and Flex-N-Gate on the South Side.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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