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Ford Dealers Would Finish Chip-Deprived Vehicles Under Proposed Plan

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The ongoing chip shortage has repeatedly forced Ford Motor Company to suspend production at its assembly plants since the crisis first surfaced in early 2021. Any type of unplanned or sustained factory shutdown can be costly for the automaker, however, which is why officials are currently mulling over a new strategy that could see Ford dealers become front line vehicle assembly operators, if the plan gets approved, per a report from Automotive News.

As it stands, the company disclosed the idea to some Ford dealers, and the plans have yet to be formalized, but the basic framework would involve the shipment of incomplete vehicles to consenting dealerships. Those willing to take on the vehicles would also receive special service technician training materials with instructions on how to properly install the chips. Compensation would amount to less than an hour’s worth of labor for each unit, a potential indicator that the procedures are not too intensive.

According to the report, the plan has yet to be fully fleshed out, and there is no formal protocol as to whether the automaker or the Ford dealers themselves would be responsible for the incomplete vehicles once they arrive on their lots, although they would not have to floorplan (purchase) the unfinished inventory before they’re properly assembled.

Ford’s assembly plants are grappling with overflowing lots, which is the chief motivating factor as to why officials within the company are considering the idea. Aside from freeing up storage space for more vehicles, the automaker thinks that the proposal would make it easier for completed vehicles to be sold more rapidly at Ford dealers around the country. It could also enable the factories to keep producing at a steady rate. As Ford Authority detailed in April, the vehicle storage issue was so severe for incomplete 2021 Ford F-150 trucks coming out of the Ford Dearborn Truck plant that the company resorted to storing them at the Dearborn Development Center test track. Prior to that, the company had been storing the trucks near the Detroit Metro Airport.

We’ll have more on this situation as it develops, so subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford news.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. Greggt

    I can’t imagine this idea would be well received by the dealers transferring that Big Monkey on to their back!

    Reply
  2. Bob

    Easy deal for the dealers. Train a minimum wage grunt kid to install chips & get the inventory they need. More than likely they are modules with the chips already installed on the circuit board, strictly R & R. Unlikely they will be soldering chips onto the boards.

    Reply
    1. jose velez

      yes the issue is the logistic since F150 and Mach E electronics and different to other Ford. I assume it has to be something related to Sync since the vehicles are able to move (not the main computer that controls engine, gearbox etc). This cars will not be paid to Ford by the dealers since they can not sell them and you have insurances issues. Customers could be afraid of buying this incomplete vehicle. So it is not easy

      Reply
    2. Scoutdude

      With today’s production methods I’d say that there is no way that they will installing “chips” in partially completed boards. Most everything is SMD where the entire board gets soldered at the same time in an automated machine. So yeah if dealers do complete the trucks it will be installing, and possibly programing modules.

      The big question is where are those modules located at and did they complete the truck around the empty hole meaning that parts will need to be removed, the module installed and the other parts put back on.

      Reply
    3. Forguy24

      Well doesn’t work that way Bob. They would have to be installed by a factory trained senior master tech and programmed for the can network. Love how people think we are minimum wage grunts lol. Probably made more than u last year Bob.

      Reply
      1. Scoutdude

        Not every module needs to be programmed to the specific vehicle. On the assembly line the modules are programed before installation so they certainly can program them before shipping to the dealer.

        Reply
        1. Fordguy24

          Yes every module in a vehicle is vin specific and has to be programmed to that vehicle or will no communicate on the network. It’s not a matter of plug and play anymore.

          Reply
  3. Roy Chiles

    This is a messy situation for all Auto Makers. Ship to dealerships back lots or close the plant? Designate the spar and professional chip in stellar to the dealerships that the vehicles will be shipped to. No Vehicle should be put on the front lot until it has been Chipped PERIOD

    Reply
  4. Scoutdude

    I’m surprised they haven’t got this figured out yet. Sure when they built a weeks worth of trucks shy it wouldn’t have been a big deal to offer up some Saturday overtime to have line workers out in those yards installing the missing pieces. However with the sheer bulk of vehicles they have and the inevitable back log to ship those vehicles in addition to the production coming off the line is going to create a big problem.

    They really should have sussed this out some time ago and got those trucks on the way to their final destinations. Then as the modules were available send them directly to the dealers. The trucks would have got to their end users quicker that way. There are a lot of people who have been waiting for the vehicles they ordered.

    Reply
  5. The Gentle Grizzly

    There is precedent. When the first Edsel cars were shipped with parts and pieces tossed in the trunk and back seat. They left it to the dealers to finish the cars. That is, if all the parts were included in these “car kits’.

    Reply
    1. John

      Edsel? Not an encouraging precedent… lol

      Reply
  6. Thomas Podd

    is there any chance that a sun/moon roof be part of the redesign of the Ford Ranger???

    Reply
  7. Mike says..

    This is a brilliant idea… it moves product out to free up space, fills FORD dealers empty lots and gets the most popular truck back in front of the customer. All you would be service techs have not a clue as to running a company in the time of covid. If FORD did things your way, they would be dead in the water.

    Reply
  8. MIKE BARANOWSKI

    Absolutely correct about having some kid pop in a module, then possibly program it using either IDS or FDRS no big deal to do. No way is a master tech going to be doing it. The owner wants to maximize his profit. Been doing this for far, far too long.

    Reply
    1. Fordguy24

      Agree an apprentice could do this but I don’t know where u work but at a union shop our apprentices do not make minimum wage as Bob said. I also have been doing this for 28 years with Ford and agree it’s a great idea to have them shipped to us and installed. Also I am sure Ford will pay .3 of an hour to install and program the missing modules.

      Reply
  9. Melissa rutledge

    I am one who has a truck on order. I don’t know the procedure for the chip to be installed but if something goes wrong with how it gets installed at the dealer who is responsible then to get it fixed and how much longer will that take to get truck finished? With all the technology we have in our country now why are we relying on chips from china?

    Reply

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