Ford Expected to Shut Down SUV Line for 1 Week

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) A union leader says Ford Motor Company is planning a 1-week shutdown of the compact SUV line at its suburban Kansas City plant due to slowing sales.

The Kansas City Star reports today that United Auto Workers Local 249 President Jeff Wright said production of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner will stop for the week of September 29th. Wright said the line's second and third shifts were also down the week of August 25th.

The Ford plant in Claycomo employs about 4,200 hourly employees, nearly three-fourths of whom now build the Escape and Mariner.

Combined sales of the small SUVs have leveled off through August, down 1.3 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Through May 2008, when gasoline prices began rising to $4 a gallon and beyond, those sales had been up 7 percent from 2007.