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Ford delays 2002 Explorer/Mountaineer

Stephen

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Ford delays 2002 Explorer/Mountaineer
to put new emphasis on quality

Published: December 18, 2000
By: Steve Blake

Ford Motor Company announced earlier this week, they are intentionally delaying delivery to dealers of the all-new 2002 Explorer and Mountaineer, by a full month, to focus on overall vehicle quality. This comes after the just launched and very popular Ford Escape suffered no less than five public recalls within the first few months of manufacturing.

For consumers and dealers, this latest quality assurance action is great news and could be the start of a new emphasis at Ford Motor Company to improve overall vehicle quality and durability, thus, saving Ford Motor Company the billions of dollars spent on vehicle recalls like this past year.

In an article published by the Detroit News and authored by Mark Truby, Martin Inglis, vice-president of Ford North America said in regards to the delay of the 2002 Explorer/Mountaineer launch, "They have to be absolutely immaculate when they leave our hands."

This past Monday, the Ford National Dealer Council led by Jerry Reynolds - National Dealer Council President and owner of Prestige Ford in Garland, Texas made their way to Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan to confront Ford Motor Company with the concerns that dealers and their consumers are expressing regarding vehicle quality.

As a result of the meeting, Ford Division President James O'Connor and Darryl Hazel - Executive Director of Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) for North America, hosted a private satellite conference with all Ford Dealers around the country to explain the steps that Ford is taking to address vehicle quality and what steps will be utilized.

With vehicle sales slowing, Ford's cost cutting measures must now focus on ridding itself of the recall bug that is also biting other automakers such as General Motors, if the company wishes to increase profitability and overall consumer and dealer satisfaction, thus improving shareholder value.

When analyzing Ford's recent overall vehicle quality, it is important to remember that the industry as a whole, and Ford Division more specifically, is closing a record setting year that surpassed the expectations of analysts, of which most forecasted slowing consumer demand for 2000.

The rush and competition for Ford, as well as other automakers, to introduce new products before their time, was more than evident with the release of the Ford Escape. In the same article authored by Mark Truby, Inglis said, regarding the many recalls on the Ford Escape, "We let the units go one week earlier than was part of our plan, and in that one week we had three of our issues."

For new models such as the recently redesigned Ford Mustang and the just one year old Ford Focus, consumer demand for these vehicles actually showed substantial increases for November and the entire year. According to an insider at Ford's Wayne Assembly Plant that builds the popular Focus, they are still 30,000 units behind from meeting consumer demand and that same insider doesn't see that figure changing in the near future. However, with the demand still strong for nearly all of Ford Division's lineup, overall vehicle quality will continue to be somewhat affected by the increasing consumer demand for production.

In the near very near future, you can expect more vehicle recalls. However, as consumer demand continues to slow and Ford Motor Company's new emphasis on overall vehicle quality takes hold, the ownership experience for most consumers will improve as new models, and even updated products such as the highly anticipated 2001 SVT Mustang Cobra, hit the market
 
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Flounder

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I like the idea...
 
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Stephen

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I do too, I think it shows that Ford may possibly be FINALLY getting the idea that people want a quality vehicle. Hopefully other American manufacturers like GM (all GMs have abysmal fit and finish and material quality) will follow suit.
 
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TheMattDaddy

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So this delay will push the launch 'til when? I would normally assume late fall, but I heard something when I was at a local Ford dealership awhile back that the 2002's were hitting showroom floors in Spring 2001, and Motortrend also mentioned this in their "First Drive" of the 2002 explorer.
 
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TheMattDaddy

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Ah, I see. Thanks Stephen!
 
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NITELIFE

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Now I really want one!

Ford's apparent new emphasis on quality makes me want the 2002 even more!! Can't wait for the 2nd wave of 2002's with the yaw control(is this right?)and other goodies to come out later next year. Thanks for the info, Stephen.

--mark
 
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Dre

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It was suppose to be launched in like February so I'd say we shall be seeing these babies hit the showrooms more like in April or early May.

Can't wait though,
 
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Chief

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At least their taking the time for quality checks and not problems anywhere else.
 
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Stubal

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Just returned from the Houston AutoShow. Ford Rep said that they were planning to start production of the '02 Explorer in about 6 weeks with dealer deliveries starting a few weeks later. There still are problems with the new 4.6L V8 and it will not be available at startup. If problems aren't resolved soon Ford plans to offer the "old" 5.0L V8.
 
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