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Tens of Thousands Unfinished Ford Trucks Sit Parked: Here’s Why

A line of Ford heavy duty trucks at a dealershipThe Kentucky Speedway hosted NASCAR races from 2000 to 2020. Now, it hosts unfinished Ford trucks.

So does an idled ammunition plant in Indiana. And parking lots outside Ford factories in Missouri and Michigan.

All told, the company projects it may have up to 45,000 almost-finished pickups sitting in storage by the end of the third quarter, all awaiting a few parts before dealers can sell them. The unfinished vehicles, Ford says, “disproportionately include high-demand, high-margin models of popular trucks and SUVs.”

Kentucky residents told CNN many appear to be F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks. They may be nearly the end of the current production run – Ford plans to introduce an all-new Super Duty next week.

Ford says most of the trucks “will be completed and sold to dealers during the fourth quarter.”

Microchip Shortage Still Slowing Production

Ford hasn’t answered our questions about what parts the trucks are waiting on. But the odds are good that it involves microchips.

An ongoing global microchip shortage has automakers worldwide trimming production. Kelley Blue Book parent company Cox Automotive now estimates that automakers will build about 13.3 million cars this year – nearly 4 million fewer than they made before the COVID-19 pandemic began and triggered the microprocessor shortage.

Automakers have removed some high-tech features from vehicles and brought others to market missing features with a promise to add them later when chips become available.

It’s also possible that the trucks are missing something lower-tech. Chevrolet this month began selling some heavy-duty trucks without engine-bay sound insulation because of a shortage of insulating foam.

A Fluctuating Backlog All Year

Sharp-eyed readers might hope that a flood of 45,000 new trucks into dealerships could be great news for car shoppers. It’s not likely.

This isn’t the first time Ford has stacked up thousands of trucks awaiting parts. The Detroit Free Press reports that the automaker had a backlog of 53,000 unfinished trucks at the start of the second quarter. It was down to about 18,000 by the end of the quarter.

Though Ford completed 35,000 unfinished trucks to reduce its backlog then, the move had no appreciable effect on prices

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