It's called beating the chip crisis.
Ford really wants to sell more F-150 trucks. People really want to buy them, too. Problem is, final assembly cannot be completed without semiconductor chips. It's been a bad situation for months now and Ford can't allow things to continue like this. The F-Series, especially the F-150, is its cash cow. Ford has been examining potential workarounds for the past several weeks, like sending chip-less F-150s to dealers so that customers can place deposits on something they can see in person.
The problem with that is two-fold: dealers are rightly concerned about liability because they'll be the ones expected to install the chips whenever they become available, and customers won't be able to drive home their new rides that day. They'll have to wait for an unknown period of time.
But Ford appears to have come up with an even better idea. A letter sent to dealers earlier this week informing them that consumers will soon have the option to have the start/stop engine function removed for the rest of the 2021 model year. A small discount will also be given.
"Those who decide to purchase an F-150 with the optional start/stop removal will receive a $50 credit," the letter claims. Start/Stop, of course, requires the use of a chip, and Ford says it'll begin building F-150s in this configuration beginning later this month or early September with the following engines: 2.7- and 3.5-liter EcoBoost motors and the 5.0-liter V8.
Without this system, fuel economy will be affected and Ford will include updated window stickers to reflect this. But is $50 in savings good enough given the higher gas prices? Not really, but some impatient buyers might be willing to accept this.
We're honestly kind of surprised Ford didn't remove start/stop earlier. GM did so in June with the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra V8 models. At this point, Ford has to do something to help alleviate some pressure coming from dealers and customers. Eliminating one feature won't completely solve the problem but it is a step in the right direction.