The Real Reason Ford’s Unfinished Truck Pile Just Keeps Getting Bigger

the real reason ford’s unfinished truck pile just keeps getting bigger

The Real Reason Ford’s Unfinished Truck Pile Just Keeps Getting Bigger

Ford’s in a bit of a pickle right now. If you’re not aware of how chip shortages caused havoc last year, wait until you see what the situation is this year. The Drive reports that around 40,000 unfinished Ford Super Duty trucks are just lying there, waiting for parts. The truck pile is so large that it’s visible from space!

We know how inflation is eating into our savings and how the pandemic has affected businesses in general. However, 2021 had another surprise waiting for automakers. On top of facing low volumes and poor sales, manufacturers had to put up with semiconductor shortages. Just as we thought things were getting better, this happens.

It’s not just Ford that’s going through supply chain issues in 2022. Honda, Toyota, and many mainstream automakers are struggling to meet demand, citing chip shortages as one of the primary reasons. The situation is so dire that many OEMs have started cutting down on vehicle features (like heated seats, auto-folding mirrors..etc.) that rely on low-supply chips.

Contrary to what many think, this is done not as a cost-cutting measure but to keep inventory moving. The last thing carmakers want is a pile of unfinished cars awaiting parts. Sadly, this feature-omission exercise is not particularly helping things, as you can tell with Ford and its near-40,000 units of unfinished trucks.

Where Is Ford Storing These Super Duty Trucks?

The advent of COVID—and all that ensued after—led to a series of events that caused a spike in inflation, supply and demand disruptions, and a global semiconductor shortage. The latter having a significant impact on new car production.

According to the report, Ford has made use of Kentucky Speedway’s many lots to store its unfinished trucks until they can be sent to dealers. Constructed just over two decades ago, the Kentucky Speedway sits about halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky—home to Ford’s Louisville Assembly plant.

The publication reported a similar event last year, but Blue Oval managed to clear stock—as many as possible. However, more trucks started flooding in; towards the end of September, the situation went from bad to worse. According to a local Kentucky resident, Pat Brindley Roeder, this is just one of the many locations Ford is using for storage. The Drive reporter, Caleb Jacobs, has been reliably informed that several more vehicles are being stored at a former ammunition plant in Charlestown, Indiana.

While the auxiliary lots to the east of Kentucky Speedway were just the beginning, things have escalated to a whole new level. It’s now in a position where the racetrack is surrounded by thousands of Super Duty pickups without titles. From photos—courtesy of The Drive—it’s clear how many trucks have been accumulating the lots, and it’s only a matter of time before the remaining spots are filled.

Chips Aren’t The Only Problem

Given the trucks are exposed to the elements, one could expect quite a few problems to arise if they stay there for long. Unlike the USAF’s “boneyard,” which is in a desert with low humidity, Kentucky is quite different. The weather can be a bit wet at times, not to mention the added air pollution.

If there’s exposed paint, you’re looking at etching from water spots, fading from the sun, and a decent amount of rust. Does Ford know about this? Of course, they do. However, it all depends on how long these vehicles stay there. So while it’s understandable that cars cannot be delivered unfinished, leaving them exposed can lead to a myriad of problems that future owners might not be aware of.

Also, you can’t tell what exactly the missing part is just by looking at the truck, especially given these are computer chips. So if the component is vital to the vehicle’s engine management or drivetrain, there’s really no other option but to wait until the part arrives.

If these trucks stay longer, Ford could try selling them at a discount. But seeing as cars are pretty much computers on wheels these days, we doubt Ford would green-light the idea. Oh, how wrong we are.

Ford Is Selling Some Vehicles Without Chips

In an attempt to keep business afloat or corporate greed, perhaps, exceptions are often considered valid. Case in point, just look at how the new 2022 Explorers are being sold. Automotive News reports that Ford is selling Explorers with missing chips, albeit at a discount.

Ford told dealers that these Explorers are being built without chips for “non-safety critical features.” This means, although they have the HVAC displays and controls for rear-seat passengers, they won’t be functional. At least for the time being. Ford dealers will have the chips installed in these vehicles within a year after purchase. In Ford’s defense, customers who buy the said Explorers—or any vehicle equipped this way—are given reasonable discounts. Seems fair enough.

Sources: The Drive, Automotive News

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