It’s harder than ever to keep a secret.
Technology has made it easier than ever for people to take pictures of things they should not. The proliferation of smartphones and smartphone cameras presents a challenge to automakers that want to keep their next big product reveal a secret. Recent leaks from Ford have forced the company to send a reminder to its suppliers, obtained by Automotive News, about their duty to keep future products under wraps until Ford is ready to show them.
The memo comes hot on the heels of a revealing leak earlier this month of the 2022 Ford Maverick, a new small pickup truck that’ll slot below the Ranger in Blue Oval’s expanding lineup. However, it wasn’t the first leak of the new Maverick, with one image from July 2020 showing off an unpainted version of the Maverick’s stamped tailgate. That came after a CAD image of it leaked online, so Ford’s frustration is understandable. In the memo to suppliers, Ford says it can’t “underscore enough the negative impact” the leaks have on its business.
Gallery: 2022 Ford Maverick Leaked Images
The memo also reminds suppliers that photographs of products before they are revealed are not allowed, including photos of any camouflaged vehicles or prototypes. The company also told suppliers that Ford might hold them liable for any damages caused by the leaks. Ford doesn’t specify any one supplier or model in the memo, though the company has faced several leaks over the last few years. Images of both the Bronco and Bronco Sport leaked long before Ford revealed them.
Ford has also seen the unannounced Ford Fusion Active and the front end of the next-gen Ford F-150 Raptor leak. However, the likelihood of the auto industry stopping every leak from happening is unlikely. Smartphones are everywhere, and people will continue to flout the rules whenever they can. Leaks occur at nearly every automaker, too, with VW, BMW, and Genesis all having photos of future products leaked online in the last year.