The semiconductor chip shortage and subsequent supply constraints have wreaked havoc on automotive production for most of 2021, leading to a number of idle plants over that time period. Automakers have gotten creative trying to circumvent this crisis, including The Blue Oval, which recently gave 2021 Ford F-150 buyers the choice of leaving automatic start/stop off the options list. In Europe, the chip shortage has also spawned a pair of brand new models – the Ford Puma Design and Ford EcoSport Design – which come equipped with fewer chips, and as a result, fewer features, according to Autocar.
Ford Puma Design models are available for two existing trims – ST-Line and Titanium – each of which leaves a few features off the options list for a lower cost. Design models don’t come with rear parking sensors, pedestrian and cyclist detection, high beam assistance, post-collision braking, lane departure warning, and pre-collision assistance with automatic emergency braking (AEB). By leaving these features off, buyers save £900 ($1,244 USD) on ST-Line trimmed Pumas and £1550 ($2,142 USD) on Titanium models.
“The global semiconductor chip shortage has affected almost all vehicle manufacturers around the world, including Ford,” a Ford spokesperson told Autocar. “In order to meet the needs of our customers for Puma and EcoSport, Ford is realigning the content of a small volume of vehicles to mitigate the impact of the chip shortage.”
On the flip side, Puma Design models do not have the safety features required to maintain the vehicle’s five-star Euro NCAP rating. AEB and lane departure warning systems will also be mandatory features for all new vehicles built in Europe beginning in May 2022, though the Puma won’t have to comply with this rule until May 2024, as it’s already been certified.
The upside to these Design models on the customer side of things, aside from their lower cost, is that those wanting a new Puma or EcoSport can get one in a month or two, versus having to wait much longer for better-equipped models. Since the Puma is already a top-ten best-selling model in Europe, that could make all the difference for some.