Ford has announced that it will be reducing the yearly summer shutdown from two weeks to one at its assembly plant located in Louisville. The reduction in the summer break has been necessitated by the high demand that has been registered in the SUV segment.

According to the car maker, sales of the Lincoln MKC and the Ford Escape which are manufactured at Ford’s Louisville plant have been strong in the first half of the year. The strong demand will require the company to produce an extra 8,500 cars at the plant.

“The record sales for Ford Escape through May are being driven by strong demand from our retail customers. This is our strongest ever retail start for Escape, with retail sales up more than 6 percent versus this time last year,” said Raj Nair, an executive vice president at Ford and its president for North America, in a press release.

Growing demand for SUVs

In the first 5 months of 2017 approximately 129,805 units of the Ford Escape have been sold. This is a gain of 3% when compared to a similar period last year. The sales of the Lincoln MKC have reached 11.161 units so far since the beginning of the year. This is a gain of around 10% compared to a similar period in 2016. In the same period the industry as a whole saw sales go down by 2% according to data released by Autodata Corp.

The 2017 model of the Ford Escape recently got an update when it received the SYNC Connect feature and the latest driver assist features. It also came with a range of EcoBoost engine choices.

Parts plants too

In all its plants located in North America, the Louisville Assembly factory is the only one that will have a shortened summer shutdown period as the rest of the company’s assembly plants will temporarily close down for the usual fortnight. Some parts plants in North America will also have a reduced summer shutdown. This includes metal stamping parts that are located in Michigan and Chicago. An engine plant that is located in Mexico will also close for one week instead of two.

Besides the Louisville Assembly Plant, Ford also operates another plant in Louisville, the Chamberlain Lane-located Kentucky Truck Plant which manufactures trucks such as the F-Series Super Duty. Other vehicles manufactured at the plant include the Lincoln Navigators and Expeditions. The two Louisville Ford plants employ around 13,000 people.