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Ford could reopen two US truck plants next Friday

Ford Motor could resume production of its best-selling F-150 pickups as early as Friday, May 18 in Dearborn and Kansas City, according to a source familiar with the automaker's plans.

Ford shut truck plants in Michigan, Missouri and Kentucky earlier this week because of parts shortages caused by a supplier fire in Michigan.

Also on Friday, Mercedes-Benz said SUV production at its Alabama plant stopped on Thursday because of parts shortages caused by the same May 2 fire at a Meridian Magnesium Products plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

Mercedes said it had exhausted its supply of cockpit cross-members on May 9 and did not have enough parts to resume full production. It said the Alabama plant will reopen next week on a "modified production schedule" while the automaker works with Meridian to restore parts production.

Ford's Louisville truck plant, which builds F-series Super Duty pickups, remains closed indefinitely.

Ford executives earlier this week said the company's quarterly earnings could be affected by shutdowns at the three truck plants, but affirmed its full-year earnings estimate.

Ford said it was working with Chinese-owned Meridian to shift production of the affected parts to other suppliers until the fire-damaged plant can be repaired and production resumed.

Ford shares were down slightly in after-hours trade, at $11.19.