The 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator are likely the most important vehicles in Ford's lineup after the F-150. These new SUVs mark a turn for Ford in styling and technology. The problem is, early reports indicate that there is trouble brewing in Chicago, the plant where they are built.
The two SUVs are just now arriving at dealerships, but have already been the subject of recalls for seats, missing manual park release covers, and other issues. The issues have become so bad that Ford is trucking them from Chicago to their Flat Rock Assembly for further examination. Dealers around the country have been notified of delays on their shipments due to unspecified manufacturing issues. Ford is providing no details on the subject.
A Ford source involved with the repairs says that Ford is using X-Ray to try and diagnose chassis issues, transmission issues where the vehicle doesn't properly go into Park or not properly activating the parking brake leading to the possibility of a roll-away, air-conditioning systems that blow heat only, Aviators with automatic suspension issues where the vehicle arrives in suspension failure mode, and transmissions that leak so much fluid "it looks like a crime scene". Aside from the serious issues, even the mundane issues appear; missing badges and trim, or having the wrong wheels.
Ford has called in workers from plants in Kentucky, Dearborn, Wayne, and Sterling Heights to help at Flat Rock to complete repairs. Flat Rock normally builds Mustangs and Continentals, but from Friday to Sunday, workers spend their time processing Explorers and Aviators.
Ford can't stop production of the vehicles even though they have a build-up of thousands of defective vehicles because the revenue is booked when the vehicle leaves the plant. Stopping production would reduce book revenue this quarter. Ford already was downgraded to junk bond status earlier this week.