Parts shortage that hit Ford spreading

DETROIT (AP) — A fire that damaged a Michigan auto parts supply factory is causing production problems at Ford, Fiat Chrysler, BMW and General Motors, but it’s too soon to tell whether dealers will run short of vehicles.

So far Ford has been hit hardest by parts shortages. The company has had to temporarily lay off 7,600 workers as it cuts production of the F-Series pickup truck, the top-selling vehicle in America.

But General Motors has been forced to stop producing full-size vans at a factory in Missouri, and production of Fiat Chrysler’s Pacifica minivan has been curtailed in Windsor, Ontario. BMW said it expects production interruptions at its SUV plant near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

It’s all because of a May 2 fire that severely damaged the main plant at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America factory in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, near Lansing, that makes structural parts, about one-third of which goes to Ford. Multiple automakers have turned to Meridian to produce parts made of the lightweight metal as they try to shed pounds to meet government fuel efficiency standards.