Ford is considering shifting its strategy, the people said, to ease the glut of unfinished vehicles piling up on company-owned lots around the country so it can keep assembly plants running. By essentially moving the vehicles now, Ford would be able to get them into customers’ hands more quickly once the chips are ready instead of having to ship them en masse at a later date.
A Ford spokesman reached Thursday afternoon deferred comment to a statement that the company had not yet provided.
Some dealers who spoke to Automotive News said they’re concerned about shifting the responsibility — and potential liability — from the factory to the dealer body. Others, however, applauded the move because it gives them something to put on their nearly empty lots.
Ford has been hit hard by the chip crisis, saying earlier this year that the shortage will cost it $2.5 billion and slash its production this year by 1.1 million vehicles. Dealer lots have dried up, and customers who placed orders have been forced to wait for months.
In late April, Ford said it had 22,000 partially built vehicles awaiting chips. It’s unclear how much that number has grown.
The company has attempted to ease the crisis by focusing on custom-built orders and offering buyers $1,000 off if they’ll place an order that will be fulfilled at a later date.