The microchip shortage continues to plague automakers, but Ford might have a temporary solution by shipping incomplete vehicles to dealers. Then, when the necessary chips are available, the stores could install them and be able to sell them to customers immediately.
The info comes from four people familiar with the planning speaking to Automotive News. The automaker doesn't yet have a final decision on the plan. The report suggests some dealers are leery of having a large supply of unsellable vehicles on their lots and of taking on the potential liability of installing the chips. Others are eager to accept the incomplete models.
The current plan is that dealers would be able to opt into accepting the vehicles in need of chips. This would solve the problem of some of them not having the space or the desire to take them. For the shops willing to accept the models, Ford would train technicians how to install the chips. The compensated labor is just less than an hour, a source told Automotive News.
Ford allegedly sees two major advantages to this plan. First, its factories have a limited amount of room to store these unfinished vehicles. Also, there's a faster turnaround to ship an incomplete model and then install the chips, rather than waiting to send a complete machine to various showrooms.
It's not clear at the moment how soon Ford could make a final decision about implementing this strategy.
Ford has seriously struggled with the chip shortage. It was possibly a factor in the F-Series sales dropping 30 percent year-over-year comparing June 2021 to June 2020. The numbers for the Mustang dropped by 6.6 percent in Q2 2021 compared to that period in 2020.