Steel Markets

Fire at Parts Supplier Disrupts Production for Automakers

Written by Sandy Williams

A massive five at automotive parts supplier Meridian Magnesium Products has disrupted vehicle production at Ford, General Motors, FCA, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

An explosion and fire at the Meridian Lightweight Technology’s Eaton Rapids plant in Michigan on May 2 has forced Ford to suspend production of its popular F-150 truck and Superduty pickups. Ford has temporarily idled production at its Kansas City and Dearborn plants, affecting more than 7,000 total workers at the two facilities. Ford Superduty production was halted in Kentucky, but the plant continues to produce other vehicles.

Ford could not provide details on how long production will be suspended, but some sources predict it may be several weeks.

Meridian produces aluminum and magnesium lightweight parts such as engine cradles, front-end carriers, instrument panel crossbar beams, liftgate inner structures and radiator supports. The company operates four plants in North America and said it is working to move its dies to Ontario and the UK.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz halted SUV production at its Alabama plant after facing a shortage of a crossbar beam for its SUVs

General Motors is pausing production on two of its full-size vans at its Wentzville assembly plant in Missouri.

FCA’s Windsor assembly plant, which produces the Chrysler Pacifica, is adjusting production schedules due to a shortage of parts from Meridian.

BMW is experiencing disruption to its production lines for the X4 and X6 at its Spartanburg, S.C., plant.

Meridian Magnesium Products of America hopes to rebuild the Michigan complex and reopen within four months.

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