Update: A Ford spokesperson confirmed a notification was sent to dealerships recently regarding the elimination of new vehicle brochures, and offered this statement:
"We are modernizing our shopping solutions and creating more digital experiences for our customers on Ford.com."
New vehicle brochures have been a staple in the auto industry for decades, but that long tradition could be coming to an end at Ford starting July 1. The automaker is reportedly ending the creation of brochures in both print and digital format, leaving Ford's official website as the only source for current vehicle information.
Ford sent a communication to its dealership network in the waning days of June announcing the change, according to Cars Direct. The letter allegedly cited budget constraints and the enduring microchip shortage as the reasons for the decision.
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Errors in print brochures for the Mustang Mach 1 resulted in hefty fines and payouts of over $3 million from Ford last year in Australia. Brochures mentioned features on the car such as adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and the Torsen limited-slip differential, but those items aren't offered on Mach 1s sold in that part of the world. Aside from the payout and a hefty fine from the Australian government, Ford had to incur the costs of reprinting brochures four times before all the details were sorted out.
Gallery: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1: First Drive
The chip shortage has forced nearly every automaker to remove some tech-focused options from vehicles to keep production going. In some cases, the features are slated to be added in later once chips are available but in other cases, the items are just gone. Given Ford's recent troubles in Australia and the enduring supply chain woes, dropping brochures that may not have correct information could be a significant cost saving for the company in more ways than one.
Ironically, the news comes just a few weeks after Ford launched a new website dedicated to, among other things, archiving decades worth of vehicle brochures. The Ford Heritage Vault is the culmination of a years-long effort by the automaker to digitally archive old vehicle photos and brochures. The archive currently includes over 5,000 items, some of which date back to the late 1800s.