Fiver-O

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Ford weighs shipping vehicles missing chips for dealerships to finish

Only dealers who would choose to receive the unfinished vehicles would get shipments and service technicians would be trained on how to install the chips.

Michael Martinez

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is weighing plans to start shipping partially built vehicles that are awaiting semiconductors or related components to dealerships around the country, a move that, if approved, would place responsibility on its retail network to complete the assembly once the chips are available.

The automaker began detailing the plans, which are not final, to some of its dealers this week, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions. Only dealers who would choose to receive the unfinished vehicles would get shipments and service technicians would be trained on how to install the chips, one of the people said. Dealerships would be compensated for slightly less than an hour's worth of labor for each vehicle, the person said.

Still unclear is whether the dealers would be responsible for the vehicles while they sit on their lots awaiting chips. Dealers are not expected to have to floorplan the vehicles before they're finished, one person said. The people asked not to be identified discussing internal company plans.

Ford is considering shifting its strategy, the people said, to ease the glut of unfinished vehicles piling up on company-owned lots around the country so it can keep assembly plants running. By essentially moving the vehicles now, Ford would be able to get them into customers' hands more quickly once the chips are ready instead of having to ship vehicles en masse at a later date.

“We are exploring a number of different options as we work to get our customers and dealers their new vehicles as quickly as possible," a Ford spokesman said.

Some dealers who spoke with Automotive News said they're concerned about shifting the responsibility — and potential liability — from the factory to the dealer body. Others, however, applauded the move because it gives them something to put on their nearly empty lots.

Ford has been hit hard by the chip crisis, saying earlier this year that the shortage will cost it $2.5 billion and slash its production this year by 1.1 million vehicles. Dealer lots have dried up, and customers who placed orders have been forced to wait months.

In late April, Ford said it had 22,000 partially built vehicles awaiting chips. It's unclear how much that number has grown.

The company has attempted to ease the crisis by focusing on custom-built orders and offering buyers $1,000 off if they place an order that will be fulfilled at a later date.

https://www.autonews.com/dealers/ford-weighs-shipping-vehicles-missing-chips-dealerships-finish
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xtraman122

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When someone mentioned this a few weeks ago it seemed like they wouldn't possibly consider this, but I guess they are... I just don't get how it makes any sense. This seems like a waste of even more man hours and what dealer wants non-working trucks sitting on their lots?
 

bammercole

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Seems like if anyone could do this, Ford could. With a long history of essentially inventing mass assembly, they have the know how to make it happen.

Car lots have tons of unused space as well. Why not have them sitting closer to where the end sale happens? This avoids a huge shipping backload when chips finally arrive.
 

Coolrain

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When someone mentioned this a few weeks ago it seemed like they wouldn't possibly consider this, but I guess they are... I just don't get how it makes any sense. This seems like a waste of even more man hours and what dealer wants non-working trucks sitting on their lots?
Yes they do ... vehicles bring people in. Empty lots makes them look like they are going out of business
 

Rod507

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Logistically this makes sense… but would the dealers want a bunch of cars they can’t sell in their lots, and have to turn people down still? Plus the added responsibility that comes with finish assembling a vehicle at a dealership? Seems unlikely, but we shall see.
 

Dadofjax

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Seems like if anyone could do this, Ford could. With a long history of essentially inventing mass assembly, they have the know how to make it happen.

Car lots have tons of unused space as well. Why not have them sitting closer to where the end sale happens? This avoids a huge shipping backload when chips finally arrive.
Ford has lost a lot of respect from a lot of people including me. In 2021 we can go online order anything in the world and have it delivered in two days. I have to wait 2 months for a front camera because ford or technicians at the dealership have no idea how to fix my truck.

If the computer doesn't tell the dealership what is wrong with a vehicle they are clueless and most won't even try to figure it out.

I would have zero confidence if a dealer was responsible for installing a chip or other parts.
 

Seavee33

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My question is how can the consumer tell if the chips were even installed by the dealer?
I'm sure there's dishonest dealers that are hurting and dying to sell trucks with or without chips. Me personally don't trust my dealer for shit but unfortunately I'm stuck with them till i get my order.
 

wayfarer556

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Ford has lost a lot of respect from a lot of people including me. In 2021 we can go online order anything in the world and have it delivered in two days. I have to wait 2 months for a front camera because ford or technicians at the dealership have no idea how to fix my truck.

If the computer doesn't tell the dealership what is wrong with a vehicle they are clueless and most won't even try to figure it out.

I would have zero confidence if a dealer was responsible for installing a chip or other parts.
Having just gotten my truck back after being at the dealer for nearly 40 days, I completely understand where you're coming from.

There is definitely value in investing in diagnostic tools and a service manual. I got a lot more traction when I diagnosed my own problem, could prove it, and then escalated the matter to Ford when the dealer dragged their own feet.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the service managers have 0 understanding about servicing a vehicle. They are sales people who wear blue jeans instead of slacks. The guys in the back with wrenches may actually know what they are doing, but they don't let you talk to them.
 

xtraman122

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My question is how can the consumer tell if the chips were even installed by the dealer?
I'm sure there's dishonest dealers that are hurting and dying to sell trucks with or without chips. Me personally don't trust my dealer for shit but unfortunately I'm stuck with them till i get my order.
What exactly do you mean by this? Are you implying the truck could somehow function without these components and the sewer would somehow try to sell it without them? Or wondering how you’d know who installed them?

I don’t see why it would matter. They’re literally plugging in modules, simply dropping in a component with a connector on it, it shouldn’t matter whether some tech who Ford subbed out walking through the sea of trucks in Dearborn or a tech at your local dealer plugs it in.
 

diesel97

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What I'm wondering is how Ford would prioritize these chips for shipment. Do the high-volume dealers get them first? Are the little town dealers going to be last on the list?
 

Pedaldude

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What a shit-show this has been, Ford got sucked into a bad decision making spiral and still hasn't pulled out of it.

For a service technician who is well trained, experienced and is supported by a quality service department; this is a good decision. Unfortunately, for many dealerships, including the one that I purchased my truck from; they're lucky if they can rotate tires and change oil without screwing something up.

Manufacturing is enough of a challenge, remanufacturing compounds any potential problems encountered. It helps that all the plastic trim pieces are new but for anyone that has taken apart an interior, unless you are super careful, it's never quite the same if you have broken any clips or distorted the pieces. That's not even mentioning connectors and wire routing.

I really think that they would be better off training a specific group for the job and having them grind through it rather than passing the buck on to the dealer's people where I guarantee the results will be hit or miss.
 

Roady

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What a shit-show this has been, Ford got sucked into a bad decision making spiral and still hasn't pulled out of it.

For a service technician who is well trained, experienced and is supported by a quality service department; this is a good decision. Unfortunately, for many dealerships, including the one that I purchased my truck from; they're lucky if they can rotate tires and change oil without screwing something up.

Manufacturing is enough of a challenge, remanufacturing compounds any potential problems encountered. It helps that all the plastic trim pieces are new but for anyone that has taken apart an interior, unless you are super careful, it's never quite the same if you have broken any clips or distorted the pieces. That's not even mentioning connectors and wire routing.

I really think that they would be better off training a specific group for the job and having them grind through it rather than passing the buck on to the dealer's people where I guarantee the results will be hit or miss.
I get what you are saying but just remember, the people in Detroit installing chips in the lots are non union, 3rd party contractors sourced from the lowest bidder. I would rather my dealer handle this as it gives me direct access to anyone that screws it up.
 

Donnelly713

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a GM told me that ford doesn't have enough space anymore to hold all these trucks so they have 2 go dealers. I think dealers are probably happy to have far more units on their lots that they can begin showing people and working up deals on then rather than sitting around with only 2 trucks to show people now. I think this helps some problems while obviously raising some others as mentioned above- and I don't pretend to know how hard it is to instal a chip. is it perfect? no- is it at least helping, probably.
 
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