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Ford suspended all production Wednesday of its profit-driving F-150 pickup, the nation’s best-selling vehicle for more than 35 years, because of a “black swan” parts shortage. 

The Detroit Free Press reported that the production halt was caused by a fire May 2 at a parts factory in small-town Michigan that rippled through the North American auto industry but hit Ford hardest. Production at General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes also was disrupted.

“The impact on everybody else is going to pale compared to Ford,” said Abhay (Abe) Vadhavkar, director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. “For Ford, this is potentially enormous.”

Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Operations, acknowledged in a briefing late Wednesday, “We have to rebuild the whole supply chain.”

F-150 trucks make up a multibillion-dollar brand that drives profits for the Dearborn-based automaker. An analyst recently calculated that the enterprise value of the F-Series trucks is greater than that of Ford overall.  Nearly 900,000 were sold in 2017 at an average cost of $46,000. And January through April sales are up 4% from the same time last year. 

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