A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:59 a.m.
FORD‘s auto and truck factories in Louisville will shut down for only one week this summer vs. the usual two, because of unexpectedly strong demand for SUVs, and the need to gear up for launching the new 2017 Super Duty F-series truck later this year.
The company says it will crank out an extra 22,000 SUVs at the Louisville Assembly Plant and at two other sites in Chicago and Oakville, Ontario. Through May, SUVs sales totaled 325,475, a 9% increase from a year ago, including Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex and Expedition. The 4,700-employee Assembly Plant closing will be the week of July 4. Ford had disclosed the SUV production increase to investors in its second-quarter production guidance April 28.
This is the fourth consecutive year the automaker has trimmed its summer shutdowns (press release).
The Kentucky Truck Plant employs 5,100, but that figure is growing substantially. In December, Ford said it would add 2,000 jobs and invest $1.3 billion there to produce the new F-series; it originally opened in 1969. The factory already produces F-250 and F-550 Super Duty pickups, plus Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator trucks. More about Ford’s history and operations in Louisville.
KFC: The owner of the El Taqueria Amigo restaurant in southern California has sued KFC after the chain started using the Spanish-language slogan, “para chuparse los dedos,” which translates to “suck your fingers” or “lick your fingers.” Felipa Piedra says it’s the same slogan the Orange County restaurant has used for at least a decade. Piedra says the Yum unit already unsuccessfully tried trademarking the phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2015 (Eater and TMZ).
TACO BELL: Chipotle’s fall from grace is so severe, a recent Harris Poll found “even Taco Bell, the exemplar of cheap Mexican food, is now more esteemed.” And that’s an opportunity to make money on Wall Street, too (Barron’s).
BROWN-FORMAN: Elizabeth O’Neill didn’t plan to be Woodford Reserve’s master taster; she’d gone to college for both a bachelors and a masters in psychology so she could be a therapist. But everything changed after a chance encounter at a party with a Brown-Forman employee (Whiskey Wash).
AMAZON will open its third brick-and-mortar bookstore — in Portland, Ore. — wading into one of the nation’s most bookish areas (USA Today). The company could launch several dozen more in the years ahead; overall, it already has an estimated 60% share of all book sales (New York Times).
PIZZA HUT: Two young girls — just 6 and 7 — were injured by shattered glass when bullets flew through a South Side Chicago Pizza Hut last night. The 6-year-old was hospitalized in good condition at last report. The shooting came just as people were marching nearby, calling for peace on the streets of Chicago as summer begins (ABC 7). The city has been a virtual war zone this year; through 6:30 this morning alone, five people were killed and at least 12 others wounded since Friday afternoon (Tribune).