DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is quietly shipping thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators by truck from its Chicago factory to its Flat Rock plant south of Detroit as workers desperately attempt to identify and fix a series of complicated problems in the much-awaited SUVs.
Dealers in different parts of the country confirm they've been notified of delays because of "manufacturing issues," leading one dealership to say the team has had to "pacify" frustrated customers who have spent significant dollars on preorders. No one from corporate is providing details, said a Ford source outside Michigan, who asked that he not be identified because it would anger folks in Dearborn. "We usually learn stuff from the news media."
Some of the vehicles already have been recalled, including from dealer lots.
The waiting continues for dealers around the United States.
"We've been experiencing this for some time," said Jim Seavitt, president and owner of Village Ford in Dearborn. "We got 10 in last week and have 18 in all. We should have far more."
Seavitt has discussed the delay with customers.
"The process has been a little slow this time. I know one thing, we're happy they're not giving them to us until they can make sure they can get things right," he said. "They're not telling us what they're working on. But not having customers come back into the store to get repairs is very important to us. We want to make sure the quality is right before we get the vehicle."
Aviator prices start at $51,100. Explorers range from $36,675 to $58,250.
The Free Press has tracked the issue over two months, as the situation continues to alarm workers who say they can't figure out how things can go so wrong.
"We routinely receive several thousandvehicles from Chicago at a time. The teams doing the fixing are working nonstop, 24/7," said a person who is working with employees at the Ford plant in Michigan.