Thousands of Super Duty pickups sitting off I-71 in Kentucky awaiting chips

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

As Kentucky Derby fans traveled along I-71 to and from Churchill Downs over the weekend, it would've been hard not to notice while driving through Sparta the thousands of Super Duty pickup trucks parked in rows.

This illustrates the multibillion-dollar impact of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage on the auto industry, specifically Ford Motor Co. Super Duty trucks built by UAW members at the nearby Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.

These days, they're built and parked awaiting parts.

"Ford will build and hold the vehicles for a number of weeks, then ship the vehicles to dealers once the modules are available and comprehensive quality checks are complete," Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and labor communications manager, told the Free Press in response to questions about the Kentucky stockpile on Monday.

When America's bestselling F-Series is parked, Wall Street pays attention.

John Lawler, Ford chief financial officer, told industry analysts after first-quarter earnings April 28 that the company had approximately 22,000 vehicles parked and awaiting parts at the end of March.


And the numbers continue to grow.

"The semiconductor shortage and the impact to production will get worse before it gets better," Ford CEO Jim Farley said after earnings posted.

In fact, Intel Corp. CEO Pat Gelsinger predicted the problem will plague the auto industry "for a few more years," Bloomberg reported Monday.

The microchip nightmare crippling auto factories globally is hitting Ford Motor Co.'s global operations the hardest globally in terms of actual vehicles taken out of the production schedule, according to AutoForecast Solutions in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. The company calculates factory-by-factory company announcements, shift production and work schedules in the U.S., Asia and Europe.


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