Ford lays off 130 workers at key Ohio truck plant

The Ohio plant has produced 4,856 F-650 and F-750 trucks so far this year.

Ford Motor Co. is temporarily laying off 130 hourly workers and eliminating a shift at its politically important Ohio Truck Plant as demand lags for the F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks built there.

The layoffs will last more than four months, from May 8 until the end of September. The automaker said most of the layoffs will be voluntary. Effected employees, if they have at least one year seniority, will receive roughly 75 percent of their pay while on leave.

Ford moved production of the trucks to Ohio from Mexico in August 2015 as a result of the 2011 labor contract with the UAW. The move made headlines last year during the presidential campaign as then-candidate Donald Trump berated Ford and other automakers for moving some vehicle production to Mexico.

Ford said F-650 and F-750 sales are slumping because the trucks, mostly used for construction or other work, are near the end of their product lifecycle.

“We expect demand to pick back up again in September,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. “Some fleets are waiting to place their order until the new model year.”

Ford employs about 1,600 hourly workers at the plant, which has produced 4,856 F-650 and F-750 trucks so far this year, Felker said. It also makes E-series cutaway vans.

The layoffs come as automakers reported light-vehicle sales fell 4.7 percent last month, the fourth straight decline. Car deliveries fell 11 percent, while light-duty truck volume dipped 0.1 percent. It was the first time monthly light-truck deliveries dropped year over year since Sept. 2013.

You can reach Michael Martinez at mdmartinez@crain.com -- Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeMartinez_AN

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