Ford's Deep Problems Get Worse

Ford shuttered the assembly line for its F-150 Lightning, a vehicle executive chairman Bill Ford says is the most important product launch in his years at the company. The Ford Motor Company said some of the truck batteries could catch fire.

Ford now has to explain to investors, consumers, and workers why the launch has gone so badly. And, in the last few days, the trouble has deepened.

CNBC reported that some Lightning trucks already sold and delivered had other problems. “On Jan. 27, a week before the fire, the company issued a “customer service action” for a small group of vehicles to have parts replaced to “prevent performance degradation” of the high-voltage battery.”

CEO Jim Farley has admitted that Ford’s quality problems are severe. He has commented that these quality issues took years to appear and will take years to fix. It is hard to believe that could be an issue with one of the world’s largest manufacturers and one with decades of experience in the auto industry.

Farley has also said Ford has far too many engineers. Ford’s rivals run their engineering operations more efficiently. This is another example of remarkably poor management. (Click here for the American tech companies that laid off the most people last year.)

Experts on broken companies look for modest problems that could become larger. The launch of the Lighting is one example. It is Ford’s EV flagship. The company’s future has, as part of its foundation, the need to successfully take market share in EVs early on. That now looks impossible. (These are the EV companies most likely to fold.)

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