Ford to reduce summer shutdown at Windsor's engine plants to one week in July

Ford Motor Company officials informed Unifor Local 200 Tuesday the company’s intent to reduce this summer’s annual shutdown to one week in July instead of the usual two weeks. The Essex and Annex engine plants will both be idled for the first full week of July. “They want to make sure they have all the trucks they need,” said Local 200 president John D’Agnolo. “Normally we’re down the first two weeks of July, but they’re trying to make up production lost because of the microchip shortage.”

The global shortage of the vital semi-conductor chips is playing havoc with the production schedules of virtually all automakers. The Essex Engine plant was idled Tuesday and will be down again Friday due to the chip shortage. The plant will also be on shutdown April 12 and 16.

Ford of Canada introduces the new 7.3L V8 gasoline engine at Windsor Engine Annex Plant Feb.

7, 2019. PHOTO BY NICK BRANCACCIO /Windsor Star

Windsor’s Annex Plant has avoided any shutdowns to date as the company tries to keep the pipeline full of the popular new 7.3-litre Godzilla engine that goes into Ford’s heavy-duty F-series pickups. Essex engine supplies five-litre engines for the F-150 truck and Mustang models.

However, production at truck plants in the U.S. that assemble the hot-selling F-150 are currently idled by the chip shortage. D’Agnolo had feared the company would also announce some shutdown weeks in May, but it remains status quo at this time. Currently there are about 850 employees each in the two plants.

“That could still happen as this situation is so fluid it changes every day,” D’Agnolo said. “Ford has moved up the shutdown weeks for some of its U.S. plants into May. They want to do the work in those plants while they’ll be down anyway because of the chip shortage.”

D’Agnolo said Ford’s plan is to run their plants right through the summer, which is why Windsor’s engine plants had their shutdowns reduced to a week. He added the local plants can easily stockpile an extra week’s worth of production for use and there isn’t any major maintenance to be performed at the Essex or Annex plants. “The manufacturers are now talking to the government (U.S.) about building chips in North America,” D’Agnolo said. “This has become a ridiculous situation.

“It’s absurd to be caught out and be losing billions.

The company’s losing and the economy is losing with people out of jobs and money not being spent in local stores.”