Ford's latest part shortage is, erm, its famous Blue Oval badge.
The ongoing semiconductor chip shortage is hitting every automotive manufacturer hard, but it seems chips aren't the only parts in short supply. Ford was recently caught in a rather embarrassing shortage after it ran out of Blue Ovals and trim badges.
Ford has, at least in our books, surpassed Audi as having the most humiliating shortage-related blunder in the last two years. Audi tried to sell cars with an option called the Semiconductor Shortage Package, which was basically just a standard car with several goodies removed. Other manufacturers offered similar options, or rather lack thereof, and some even allowed post-sale retrofits of some features.
It was the ultimate cringe-inducing move until Ford ran out of badges. Ford has been stockpiling thousands of unfinished F-series trucks at Kentucky Speedway of late, and we have to now wonder whether this was caused by genuine issues or something as silly as a badge.
Ford did not say what components were missing on the Kentucky Speedway cars, but it told the Wall Street Journal that the vehicles parked there lacked parts other than semiconductor chips. It also confirmed that Ford F-150 production had been hit the hardest.
To be fair, Ford's badges are not made in-house. The badges are made by Tribar Technologies, located in Wixom, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy shut Tribar down for more than a month after it released 3,892 pounds of hexavalent chromium into the sewer system. Hexavalent chromium can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs, and damage the nose's mucous membranes and perforate the septum.
Neither Ford nor Tribar have commented on whether the shutdown resulted in the badge shortage, but it's not hard to put two and two together. There is no official figure, but we've seen reports stating that between 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles were delayed.
This will hurt Ford's third-quarter reports, which are due in October. Considering that the F-150 is Ford's best-selling vehicle and has a high-profit margin, the report will likely not be favorable. On the consumer side, it will likely push the used value of the F-150 higher than it already is.
It's a pity, as Ford was riding a massive wave of success in early August.
It's widely believed that semiconductor chip availability will only be stable by the end of 2023, but it's not the only scarcity in the automotive world. Volkswagen battled to get wiring looms out of Ukraine due to the ongoing war, and Germany's automotive sector will likely face a gas shortage for the same reason.
Volkswagen is one step ahead of its rivals in German, as it expects a widespread shortage of glass and has started stockpiling side windows, windshields, and more by early September. You can't make glass without heat, and Germany relies heavily on natural gas.
Oddly, Ford is not the only manufacturer haunted by peculiar shortages. Due to a resin shortage, Chevrolet is currently shipping Camaro and Silverado HD models without hood insulation.