Ford Halts EV Shipments Again

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File

Another sign may have emerged suggesting that Joe Biden's efforts to blackmail the country into switching to electric vehicles are failing. Ford Motor Company had already significantly decreased its production of the F-150 Lightning electric trucks earlier this year. Now they have halted shipments of the trucks. A statement from the company claims that the pause in shipments was driven by unspecified "quality issues." But that's a curious explanation considering that they simultaneously resumed shipments of their gas-powered trucks. What's going on here? (Fortune Magazine)

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Ford Motor Co. has halted shipments of its F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup for an undisclosed quality issue just weeks after cutting production of the battery-powered model due to slowing sales.

The automaker said in a statement late Friday it stopped shipping the Lightning on Feb. 9 “to ensure quality.” It did not say when it expects to resume delivering the Lightning to dealers, but noted it has started shipping traditional gas-powered versions of the truck, which was redesigned for the 2024 model year.

“We expect to ramp up shipments in the coming weeks as we complete thorough launch quality checks to ensure these new F-150s meet our high standards,” the company said.

Multiple outlets have asked Ford for details of the "quality issues" being examined, but the company has thus far declined to say. That's a highly unusual decision for an automotive manufacturer. They are only vaguely stating that they are working to ensure that the quality of the vehicles "meets our high standards." The importance of these concerns (assuming they are real) depends entirely on how serious a potential defect might be. 

Does the quality issue affect only the current production run or could it have shown up undetected in trucks that have already been delivered and might potentially be on the road right now? If we're talking about a piece of molding coming loose in the cabin, people likely won't be too worried about it. But if it's an issue that could cause the steering wheel to fall off or lead to an engine fire while in operation, the public would probably want to be made aware of that.

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The fact that Ford is resuming shipping of the gas-powered trucks at the same time that they are slamming the brakes on F-150 Lightning deliveries suggests that the defect could be specific to the electric vehicle design. They've no doubt noticed that these vehicles have an unpleasant habit of bursting into flames under certain conditions. Does that suggest that the problem might be with the massive batteries in the trucks? We don't know because Ford is refusing to say.

Of course, there may be nothing to this excuse at all. Sometimes companies - much like politicians - just hate to admit when they've made a mistake. Ford followed the federal government's lead and dove headlong into EV production. But now, dealerships are seeing their lots overcrowded with unsold EVs and Ford's warehouses in Michigan are filling up rapidly. That's not the sort of news that you want to have to deliver to your shareholders. You can't recoup the money that you spent producing vehicles that people don't want to buy or drive. Somebody will have to be held accountable, potentially someone very high in Ford's managerial chain. But the real accountability needs to be visited upon the bureaucrats in Washington who decided they would bring their War On Things That Work to America's roads and driveways. Perhaps that accountability will arrive in November. We can only hope.

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David Strom 6:40 PM | April 18, 2024
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