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2020 Ford Explorer Production Woes Blamed For Sales Decline

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Ford recently reported its sales numbers for Q4 2019, and those numbers allowed the entire year of sales to be calculated. 2019 was a big year for the Ford Explorer as the all-new 2020 version of the SUV launched and did so under a cloud of defects and delays. Sales of the Ford Explorer was down 14.62 percent to 48,083 units in Q4 2019 compared to the same quarter of 2018. However, sales of the Explorer were up 52 percent over Q3 2019.

2020 explorer

The growth in Explorer sales for Q4 2019 compared to Q3 is thanks to the improved availability of the 2020 Explorer, which had seen delays in shipment in Q3 2019. During Q3, the factory in Chicago building the SUV had significant issues with quality that led to some vehicles being delivered to customers with obvious defects. Many of the first batches of Explorers and Lincoln Aviators had to be shipped from the Chicago assembly plant to the Flat Rock plant south of Detroit for inspection and repairs.

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Sales Results - USA - Explorer

YearJanFebMar AprMayJunJul AugSepOctNov DecTotal
202018,770 18,77018,770 14,94614,946 14,94619,687 19,68719,687 160,209
201917,769 17,76917,769 11,79111,791 11,79110,515 10,51510,515 16,02816,028 16,028168,309
201815,005 18,10621,020 17,89419,470 19,31020,243 21,59918,769 19,03417,696 19,586227,732
201715,294 19,14520,232 19,77122,715 21,30418,763 18,12518,898 16,91421,520 25,375238,056
201614,266 20,01421,605 20,28318,813 17,35616,615 18,29416,667 16,10617,245 19,030216,294
201514,995 17,02720,765 16,58519,755 20,37721,361 21,65819,005 18,74815,141 18,892224,309
201411,696 12,92117,751 16,62920,346 15,64516,797 17,74813,770 14,45514,949 16,632189,339
*** This manufacturer is now publishing only quarterly numbers for this market. Monthly figures may be averages.

A Ford spokeswoman called Kelli Felker told the Chicago Tribune that the ramp-up at the assembly plant was “slower” than the automaker had expected. She also noted that it took more time to get production and vehicle quality up to full speed after such a massive renovation of the Chicago Assembly Plant. That plant had been closed for an entire month in March 2019 as Ford spent $1 billion and gutted the plant down to the cement floors to get the facility ready to produce the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Lincoln Aviator, and Police Interceptor Utility.

Production of the all-new Explorer started in June, but significant issues with vehicles produced were encountered. Ultimately thousands of Explorers were shipped to Flat Rock in the fall to have repairs made according to Felker. She noted that not all of those vehicles required fixes to be applied, but they all needed inspections to see if they needed repairs. The plant is now at full production, says Felker.

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Source: Chicago Tribune

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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9 Comments

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  1. Sales are down because the car is crap. Gee, what a surprise. HEHE perhaps if they wanted to bring back the EDSEL division, all they would have to do is rebadge the EXPLORER/AVAITOR. 🙂

  2. WIth production and dealer stock up to level now, 2020 sales will be the determining factor of sucess.
    Spending all that money and R&D on a brand new Explorer, Ford had to believe sales would be measurably up from 2018 levels, when the previous model was showing its age.
    It will also indicate if the new styling will keep people away.

    • Looks like they just divided the sales per quarter into equal amounts per month. The chart shows the same thing for the other 2019 quarters as well.

  3. Unfortunately the next gen 2020 Explorer is still having issues with QC. All those early adopters are frustrated with numerous recalls and all sorts of build issues. If you read some of the forums there are many who have had their 2020 Explorer bought back by Ford under their States Lemon Laws. The launch was rushed, QC wasn’t there and now the Explorer is facing a huge credibility issue. The price jumped significantly and the expectation of higher quality didn’t jump up at all. Right now there is a big issue with the front suspension clunking at low speeds, owners having the new Explorers in the shop for weeks without successful repairs. Best to wait until 2021 model year if you really want one.

  4. “She noted that not all of those vehicles required fixes to be applied, but they all needed inspections to see if they needed repairs. The plant is now at full production”, says Felker.

    And just what are the fixes, and these inspections are of what? The repairs, just how drastic are they? Is it something as simple as tightening a bolt or are they tearing the car apart to fix the problem? Wish the article told us that…..

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