DETROIT -- Transmission parts valued at "a couple of bucks" sidelined seven Ford Motor Co. plants on Thursday, April 27, and Friday. Canadian parts maker Linamar Corp. supplies the faulty parts, sources told Automotive News.
In a statement, Linamar would only say that it is investigating and is "working closely with Ford to resolve their issue."
A Ford spokeswoman would not comment on Linamar but said the supplier in question is working with the automaker to resolve the problem.
The shutdown, which began Thursday evening, includes three U.S. plants producing Ford's prized F-150 pickups, plus locations that make the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, E-series van and Lincoln Town Car sedan.
Ford expects the affected assembly plants to be running on Monday, May 1, said spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari. They are in Dearborn, Wayne and Wixom, Mich.; Avon Lake, Ohio; Norfolk, Va.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Cuautitlan, Mexico.
JPMorgan analyst Himanshu Patel estimated the shutdown could cost Ford about 1 cent per share -- equivalent to about $18 million -- for every day of lost production. But he also said that Ford could make up that lost production.
Gattari says that is what Ford intends to do.
"It will be easy to make up," she said.
The problem component is part of a one-way clutch assembly in a four-speed, rear-wheel-drive automatic transmission. The affected clutch piece is what enables smooth shifting between first and second gear, Gattari said.
An industry consultant and engineer familiar with Ford transmissions said the faulty part cost just "a couple of bucks."
Another industry source said a bad batch caused the problem. Gattari described it as "an inventory of parts that was out of spec." She said Ford believes that no problem vehicles reached customer hands.
"We believe we contained the issue internally," she said.
Linamar ranks No. 44 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1.26 billion in 2005.
The Guelph, Ontario, company supplies cylinder heads, camshafts, crank shafts and other drivetrain parts.
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