Ally estimates there are 4 million to 5 million potential U.S. buyers stuck on the sidelines because “they cannot find a vehicle to purchase.”
LAS VEGAS — Ford Motor Co., attempting to ease inventory constraints, plans to ship and sell partially built vehicles that are awaiting semiconductors or related components that control non-safety critical features, executives told dealers in a meeting here Saturday, according to three people present.
The plan is a revision of an idea floated in July, where Ford considered shipping partially built vehicles to dealers to sit on their lots until parts became available. Now, according to the people, the partially built vehicles Ford will send dealers will be both drivable and sellable.
Ford said it would send the necessary chips within one year for dealers to install in the sold products, the people said.
It was not immediately clear when the automaker would start shipping and selling the partially built vehicles, and dealers who attended the meeting said the company did not discuss what nameplates were involved.
However, Ford spokesman Said Deep told Automotive News Ford would build Explorers without rear seat heat controls that could be added later.
“We are offering ways for our customers to get their vehicles sooner during the global semiconductor shortage,” Deep said in a statement.
He said Ford previously offered customers the option to order F-150s without the auto stop-start feature. In the case of the Explorers, buyers will receive a price reduction for the change, Deep said, and Ford will restore rear seat passenger control of heating and air conditioning for free at a later date.
The automaker has been attempting to find ways to ease the glut of unfinished vehicles piling up on lots around its manufacturing plants. Most recently, what appeared to be hundreds if not thousands of Broncos were piling up in Michigan. Ford said the backlog was chip-related and that it planned to ship those vehicles within three months, pending parts availability.
The ongoing chip shortage has forced a number of automakers to remove certain features to accelerate deliveries to customers.
General Motors late last year said it would remove popular features such as heated seats from much of its lineup, later saying customers who ordered vehicles missing that feature could have it added later.
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