Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs admitted the company spread itself too thin with the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.
Ford Motor Company's President of Automotive, Joe Hinrichs, said that early problems with the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossover utility vehicles can be attributed to the automaker spreading itself too thin with both vehicle launches.
"Simply put, we took on too much," Hinrichs said, according to the Detroit Free Press. The company has received numerous consumer complaints about the brand-new pair of mid-size crossovers, which just launched for the 2020 model year, and plenty of new production stock in need of repair has amassed at some Ford manufacturing plants.
A safety recall for the vehicles was issued as early as August of this year, relating to missing manual park release covers on some number of units. The manual park release cover plays a role in ensuring that the manual park release lever isn't inadvertently activated, meaning there is some risk of an accidental roll-away in affected cars. Many of the affected vehicles might also have instrument clusters that are still set to factory mode, in which warning alerts and current gear position are not active.
A Detroit Free Press report published the following month laid out a list of complicated, "mysterious" issues with the crossovers that Ford was scrambling to fix.
Those issues reportedly include air-conditioning systems that only blow hot air; auto-leveling Aviator suspensions that are arriving in failure mode; and unspecified Explorer chassis issues that have prompted diagnostic x-rays on some vehicles. Additionally, the Ford Explorer seems as though it might have more deeply rooted transmission issues, so that some examples fail to go into Park when prompted, or successfully enter Park but fail to activate the brake, increasing the risk of roll-away.
Ford's simultaneous launch of the all-new, 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator was, admittedly, ambitious. The Aviator effectively replaces the MKT in Lincoln's lineup, and both it and the Explorer represent bold, clean-sheet redesigns of their forebears, switching from a transverse (FWD-based) to a longitudinal (RWD-based) powertrain configuration and premiering Ford's brand-new CD6 platform.
Such radical product overhauls may have been "too much" indeed.