Ford May Suffer as Chrysler Shutdowns Reach Suppliers

Ford Motor Co., the only self- sufficient U.S. automaker, may be hobbled should prolonged shutdowns at Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. lead to failures of essential partsmakers.

By Alex Ortolani and Keith Naughton

Ford, launching three critical models, is at risk of periodic shutdowns if suppliers it shares with GM and Chrysler collapse, analysts said. GM is closing 14 North American plants for as much as nine weeks this summer and Chrysler, which filed for court protection from creditors on April 30, plans to close its factories until emerging from Chapter 11 in a month or two.

“There’s definitely potential for sporadic shutdowns at Ford,” said Mike Wall, supplier analyst at industry consultant CSM Worldwide in Northville, Michigan. The idling of plants at Chrysler and GM “is going to shoot a significant amount of stress through the supply chain.”

Ford is vulnerable because of the interwoven nature of the auto-supply network. Ford shares 70 percent of its suppliers with GM and 64 percent with Chrysler, according to CSM. Asian- based automakers share 59 percent with Chrysler and 58 percent with GM. The loss of a single part can close a plant, Wall said.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.may also be disrupted if suppliers who lose business during the GM and Chrysler shutdowns can no longer afford to stay in business, said Craig Fitzgerald, a supplier consultant at Plante & Moran in Southfield, Michigan.

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