Ford Motor Co. has temporarily shut its Canadian Assembly plant in Oakville to address a potential quality issue.
“At Oakville Assembly Plant, as part of our commitment to delivering high-quality vehicles, we have identified an opportunity to address a potential concern before we ship our vehicles. In addition, a part shortage due to the semiconductor issue was on the horizon, so we took a down week this week to address both potential concerns,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in an email.
Ford stopped shipment of other vehicles recently to fix potential quality problems. The holds on shipments are part of a corporate-wide effort to reduce the company’s warranty costs. The Oakville plant builds the Ford Edge utility vehicle.
Semicondutor Issue Forces Wider Shutdown
Ford’s not alone in dealing with chip issues at its Canadian facilities. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, reported re-opening a Canadian assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario that had been closed since mid-January due to the worldwide shortage of semiconductors.
Felker said the semiconductor shortage also forced Ford to close temporarily the Louisville Assembly Plant where the Escape and Corsair are built and to curtail production at the Chicago Assembly Plant, which is now running just one of three shifts of production this week. The site is where the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Ford Interceptor are built.
Ford Sales Show Improvement in January
The cut in production of utility vehicles comes just as Ford is reporting an uptick in retail vehicle sales during January.
Ford said it retail sales in January outpaced the overall industry’s retail sales by four percentage points on strong truck and SUV sales. F-Series starts the year as America’s best-selling trucks, while Ford brand SUVs posted record sales in January while Lincoln SUVs posted their best retail sales in 20 years.
Overall, Ford sales dropped 8.3% from year ago levels as fleet sales remain depressed due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel. Ford executives, however, said they believed the January’s performance reflected other areas of improvement.
“January embodies the continued momentum we see for 2021, thanks to a new lineup of must-have products, including F-150, Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E and later this year – Bronco,” Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford Sales U.S. and Canada. “We’re seeing customers and dealers excited about the new content and features we’re offering, and we look forward to delivering for them.”
In fact, SUV sales were up 7.6% last month and 13.4% on the retail side. Lincoln’s line-up of SUVs enjoyed their best first month — on the retail side — in 20 years, the company noted. The Lincoln Corsair led the way, posting a record start for the brand in the small premium ute segment.