Last-minute quality checks are necessary. Here's why.
Driving near Detroit Metro Airport on I-94 reveals yet another clear-cut sign America loves the Ford F-150. In a sprawling parking lot, Ford has been stockpiling thousands of pre-production 2021 F-150s in anticipation of huge consumer demand. The automaker was right. Dealerships across the country are working overtime to get their hands on as many examples of the new full-size pickup truck as possible. Demand has already exceeded supply, and there are no signs this will slow down.
The Detroit Free Press reports these stockpiled F-150s are now undergoing final quality checks before being sent to dealers. The reason for the delay is because they were built at the Dearborn Truck Plant while engineers were still testing prototypes. Ford was well aware demand was going to be high so it decided to proceed with production earlier than planned.
The downside is that those early-build examples require final inspections before shipping whereas examples currently in production are being shipped with no delays. "Trucks are on their way to dealers now and in customer hands," Ford spokesman Said Deep confirmed. "We do have this other batch of 150s that were built before those shipments began and they're going through a final quality check before they're released."
The pre-production F-150s undergoing last-minute inspections sometimes require software updates and parts adjustments, though specific details are not available. Ford also refused to state exactly how many stockpiled F-150s there are, though a company source who wished to remain anonymous says the figure is possibly between 6,000 and 7,000. Ford's decision to begin 2021 F-150 production early is somewhat risky because of potential quality issues.
If you recall, early build examples of the latest Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator suffered from numerous flaws because of rushed early production at the Chicago Assembly Plant. Ford faced justified dealer and consumer backlash, something that absolutely cannot happen with its longtime best-selling truck. It must also be stressed Ford's F-150 stockpiling is not related to supply issues that have delayed the new Bronco until next summer.
The fact Ford is taking the time to perform inspections is being praised by industry analysts and dealers. There's clearly serious financial pressure to increase sales, but caving to that pressure could result in customers receiving a problematic vehicle, and dealers would then be faced with resolving those issues. Ford is placing customers first over profits and risking the F-150's reputation isn't worth it.