As GM moves to boost production to recover what was lost to the American Axle strike, Ford is cutting back its output of pickups and SUVs in the face of rising fuel prices in the U.S. Sales of the spacious and functional yet very thirsty vehicles have dropped sharply and consumers and businesses alike are moving toward more efficient choices.

To help staunch the customer hemorrhage it is currently experiencing, Ford is also diverting more resources toward a smaller pickup based on the best-selling F-150. Talk of Ford's F-150 being dethroned by Toyota's Camry has already begun, and because the company won't be able to bring the new truck to market until 2011 or so, it's a likely scenario. Ford's F-150 or its predecessors have held the top vehicle sales spot in the U.S. for over a quarter of a century. Toyota's Camry has been America's top-selling car for a decade, but has been unable to break through the gargantuan figures of the Ford pickup.

Despite the long history of strong sales, the company is starting to realize demand simply can't meet supply, reports the AP. Though a drop in consumer sales has hurt F-150 sales, the concurrent slump in the housing market has affected commercial sales of the pickup as well. The confluence of economic hard times is creating a perfect storm of sorts for Ford.

To make sure supply doesn't outstrip demand by too great a factor, Ford will close its plant in Wayne, Michigan, for five weeks beginning at the end of June. Other models affected by the downturn include the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size SUVs.