Ford’s focus is to build F-150 trucks despite missing chips

By Robert Scammell

Carmaker Ford is pressing ahead with production of some of its F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America despite missing some electronic modules containing “scarce semiconductors” amid a global chip shortage.

On Thursday the US multinational said it will “build and hold the vehicles for a number of weeks” while it waits for the missing electrical parts, before shipping the complete vehicles to dealers.

A Ford spokesperson told CNBC that the number of vehicles affected would be “in the thousands”.

The move is an alternative to closing down assembly plants, which Ford has already done in other locations including Cologne, Germany.

Ford announced further closures at the Cologne plant that will see production of its Fiesta model halted on 22 March.

It also cancelled the Thursday night shift and Friday day shift at its Louisville, US factory due to the semiconductor shortage.

Ford is not alone in its production woes as Honda, Volkswagen and General Motors are also affected by global chip supply being at a massive low.

General Motors said this week that it would also build vehicles with missing parts due to the silicon shortage. In this case some of its pickup trucks will be without a fuel management module, a component that aids fuel economy.

“Due to the global shortage of semiconductors impacting the global auto industry, we are making Active Fuel Management/Dynamic Fuel Management unavailable on certain 2021 model year full-size trucks,” said Michelle Malcho, GM spokesperson, on Monday.

“By taking this measure, we are better able to meet the strong customer and dealer demand for our full-size trucks as the industry continues to rebound and strengthen.”

Ford: Chips are down

A perfect storm of Covid-19, severe weather and geopolitical tensions has exacerbated an existing global chip shortage, leaving automakers battling with consumer electronics companies for the vital semiconductors powering vehicles and devices.

Modern cars often contain between 50 to 150 chips, a figure that often surpasses those in consumer devices.

As car sales picked up at the tail end of 2020 following a pandemic-induced slump, manufacturers were forced to compete with a surge in demand for chips from consumer electronics firms, which have seen sales soar due to stay at home restrictions.

Ford has previously stated that if the chip shortage continued through the first half of 2021 it could cost the company between $1bn and $2.25bn, a warning it repeated yesterday.

Read more: Goodbye Mr Chips: Carmakers lose supply amid global semiconductor shortage

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