May 7, 2007 — Ford Motor Co. will idle its 56-year-old Cleveland Casting Plant in 2009, the latest decision in the automaker's ongoing reorganization strategy, the Way Forward plan. Ford stated the decision is "in line with (its) commitment to match its manufacturing capacity with actual customer demand." In addition, the adjacent Cleveland Engine Plant No.1 will be temporarily idled, for about 12 months Ford says, later this month.
The Cleveland Casting Plant produces cast-iron crankshafts for Ford's four-cylinder engines, as well as engine blocks, and bearing caps, among other products for Ford's F-Series Super Duty trucks, E-Series vans, and the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. It has 1,100 hourly and 118 salaried workers.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's v.p. for North American Manufacturing stated: “These are difficult actions, and we’re approaching them with great sensitivity because they involve our people. However, operating an efficient and competitive manufacturing business is a key to our Way Forward plan to transform our business back to sustained profitability.”
Ford has previously indicated its long-range intention to minimize in-house casting operations. It has already determined it will close the casting operations at Leamington, England, and Windsor, ON.
Cleveland Engine Plant No.1 is being idled for about one year, Ford states, "to capitalize on production efficiencies at Ford’s Lima (OH) Engine Plant, where the company now can produce all its Duratec 3.5-liter engines for the Ford Taurus passenger car and Taurus X crossover, as well as other models." The plant has 530 hourly and 47 salaried workers.
The plant has been producing the Duratec 3.0-liter engine for the Ford Five Hundred passenger car and Freestyle crossover, but those models are no longer in production. Production may resume sooner than the indicated 12 months if demand is sufficient, according to Ford. When it is returned to production, the plant is slated to produce Ford's Duratec 3.5-liter engine, and a variant for the Lincoln MKZ passenger car, Lincoln MKX crossover, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus X, Ford Edge crossover, and Mercury Sable passenger car. It also will produce engines for the Lincoln MKS passenger car and Ford Flex crossover, both new vehicles.
Cleveland Engine Plant No.2 will continue operations. It produces two different 3.0-liter engines for the Ford Fusion passenger car and Ford Escape crossover, Mercury Milan passenger car, Mercury Mariner crossover, Mazda 6 passenger car, and Mazda Tribute crossover, as well as for a European passenger car, the Ford Mondeo, and various Jaguar models.