Kansas City, Mo. Falling consumer demand for gas-guzzling pickup trucks is leading the Ford Motor Co. to retool its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo to produce more crossover sport utility vehicles, union officials said.
Jeff Wright, president of the United Auto Workers Local 249, said that Ford plans to switch a second shift now making F-150 pickups and retrain those workers for a new shift building Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs later this summer.
Wright said the company told the union of its plans during a meeting last week in Detroit.
Ford wouldn't confirm the plan.
The advance of $4-a-gallon gasoline has reduced sales for pickups and big SUVs, forcing automakers to cut production of those vehicles in favor of smaller SUVs and cars.