Business

5-week shutdown no surprise at Ford

Phil McKinnon said he's seen it all before at Ford Motor Co. – the rising gas prices and the company's ensuing attempts to adjust to a changing market.

More than 20 years ago, he saw it when oil embargoes forced his plant, Michigan Truck, to go on a one-week-on, one-week-off schedule to slow production.

And now the 55-year-old autoworker said he's seeing it again as Ford plans a five-week shutdown of the plant that makes Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, both large sport utility vehicles.

“I wasn't surprised, really,” he said.

The shutdown will add three more weeks to the normal two-week shutdown in July, McKinnon said. It's scheduled to begin June 23.

Ford said in March that it would cut North American production by 10 percent in the second quarter because of slow U.S. sales, but the production cuts at Michigan Truck would come on top of that. On Thursday, the automaker said it would cut production of trucks and SUVs.

“I've been here for 36 years, and I've been through this a number of times before,” McKinnon said. “There's not a thing I can do to prevent this from happening, so I just don't worry about it.”

Ford chief executive Alan Mulally says the company isn't considering dropping trucks or large SUVs. However, Ford plans to build a smaller pickup on a modified version of the F-150 platform.

McKinnon tries not to worry about the future.

“You come in every day until they tell you to not come back anymore,” he said.

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