The company has scheduled a two weeks “vacation” at its plant that builds the Focus compact and C-Max hybrid cars to lose excess inventory after the first slowdown in U.S. auto sales in 27 months.
Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, near Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, will be closed the weeks of Oct. 28 and Dec. 16, said Kristina Adamski, a company spokeswoman, in a statement. The supply of both models went up after industry wide U.S. sales of cars and light trucks dipped 4.2% in September, while hybrids and electrics fell even steeper.
“They don’t want to get ahead of themselves,” said Alan Baum, an independent auto analyst at Baum & Associates in West Bloomfield, Michigan. “Ford has been focused on keeping their pricing in check. Their operating margin is in double digits. Nobody else is there and they’re obviously very proud of that.”
Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally’s move to align production with demand has helped Ford post record profit margins in North America, reaching more than 10 % in an industry where 5 is considered respectable. Ford is increasing output of other models such as the F-Series pickups and Fusion mid-size cars as the industry still remains geared for its best year since 2007.