Ford idling production at Louisville auto plant as inventory levels rise too much

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 9:48 a.m.

FORD is shutting down production for a week at the Louisville Assembly Plant starting today, canceling shifts to slow production slightly as it pauses to allow demand to catch up with supply.  A second week off is scheduled to start Oct. 31. Sales of the two compact SUVs made there — Escape and MKC — are up slightly through September, but Ford officials said they want to keep production and inventory levels in line (Courier-Journal). The company employs nearly 4,700 workers at the factory, plus another 5,100 at its sister truck factory. More about Ford in Louisville.

mark-fields
Fields

CEO Mark Fields is recasting the company as an auto maker and a transportation-services provider, as he pivots away from predecessor Alan Mulallay’s “One Ford” vision, shorthand for a painful downsizing and management overhauls that helped the automaker avoid bankruptcy and return to big profits. In recent months, according to a new Wall Street Journal story today, it has launched a series of investments and partnerships in areas like self-driving automobiles, electrified vehicles and ride sharing.

But those efforts have done little to raise the company’s stock, which has fallen by roughly 30% since Fields took over in mid-2014, despite record earnings last year. Investors appear more focused on plateauing U.S. auto sales and the company’s weakening near-term profit outlook. Some market watchers also say it isn’t clear how the new initiatives will mesh strategically (WSJ).

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