The Ford Motor Company may be hitting home runs with products like the revamped Bronco and mid-sized Maverick, but that batting average is suffering under the weight of multiple massive recalls of some of its latest and greatest products.
In February, Ford recalled 330,784 2015-2017 Mustangs due to poor wiring in the cars’ backup cameras. Ford then recalled 737,000 vehicles in two separate recalls in April; one for 2020-2022 model year Ford Escape and 2021-2022 model year Ford Bronco Sport vehicles with 1.5-liter engines and the second for the 2022 model year F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Maverick, Expedition as well as the Lincoln Navigator and the 2021 F-150. May saw the recall of 39,013 model-year 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs for fire risk. Things aren’t much better this month for the Blue Oval: Ford recalled 2.9 million crossovers, sedans, and vans, 48,924 Mustang Mach-Es for a battery circuit issue and 25,032 regular Mustangs for fault shift sensors.
When you lay it all out like that, it sure does seem like a lot of recalls. The problems haven’t gone unnoticed. From industry analysis to investors to Ford customers, the recalls are recking havoc on what should be smooth sailing for the automaker, according to the Detroit Free Press:
Ford CEO Jim Farley has said again and again that reducing how much the company spends on recall and warranty work is vital for the iconic automaker, which has a long history of what industry analysts call self-inflicted wounds.
Yet costs to fix problems continue to grow with Ford’s latest high-profile safety recalls.
Back-to-back-to-back recalls in recent weeks for issues ranging from spontaneous combustion to loss of power while driving at highway speeds puts Ford at a competitive disadvantage during a time when automakers are fighting to define themselves as market leaders, analysts say.
It is essential that Ford, like all automakers, focus its dollars on developing new products to compete in a rapidly-evolving industry that requires massive new investment, versus fixing mistakes.
“They are the No. 1 problem at Ford right now. And it’s the worst in the industry when it comes to recalls and warranty work,” said John McElroy, a longtime industry observer and host of “Autoline After Hours” webcast and podcast. “It’s been going on for years and they haven’t solved it yet.”
There are multiple theories as to why Ford products are such a headache for their owners from moving too fast on cutting edge technology while trying to save money by cutting corners in areas like development and testing to a brain drain of experienced engineers to using parts from the lowest-bidding supplier.
Ford, for its part, knows that recalls and quality are a problem and have appointed “quality czar” Josh Halliburton to shake things up at Ford. He can’t get to work fast enough. Eric Arnum, editor of Warranty Week, told the Freep that Ford was number one in the U.S. for warranty payouts last year, not just among automaker but out of all other companies like Apple and Raytheon. Ford also sets aside the highest amount per vehicle to prepare for warranty repairs and recalls.
The constant recalls might cost the automakers more than just dollars on the hood of each sale, it could end up costing them customers. You can read the whole report with multiple analysis weight in, right here.