Around 8,000 Ford Mustangs had to be fitted with temporary steering wheels and parked earlier this year after a Mexican steering wheel supplier ran into production issues as a result of a labor strike. An unspecified number of Explorer SUVs were also affected.
From the Detroit Free Press, a total of 3,200 factory workers at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant were sent home for two weeks. "We had a parts shortage due to a supplier issue," a Ford spokesperson said. "It affected Flat Rock and Mustang, specifically. The Explorer was affected and we did continue to build."
From a Feb. 13 internal memo sent out by Flat Rock plant manager Jon Gifford, "...our steering wheel supplier is experiencing production issues that ultimately resulted in the recent down-weeks at the plant. Unfortunately, their struggles have continued, and in our current position, we must produce Mustangs with temporary steering wheels."
Gifford continues, "We are monitoring the supplier's progress on a daily basis, but it is highly likely we will be running Mustangs with temporary steering wheels for the next few weeks. As a result of continuing production, we will be parking approximately 8,000 Mustangs until the correct steering wheels are received and installed. There will not be any additional down weeks."
Ford didn't name the specific supplier at the root of the issue, citing policy that shies away from discussing supplier agreements.
Just this Monday, Ford confirmed to Detroit Free Press that normal production has resumed. "The situation is resolved, parts are flowing," said a Ford rep. To make up for lost Mustang production, the two-shift setup was extended for two weeks with the plant set to go to a one-shift shift schedule after April 15.
An 8,000-car production hiccup like this isn’t likely to go unnoticed by Ford's top brass and the North American auto industry as a whole, especially as UAW contract talks are set to begin later this year.