Both the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator are reportedly undergoing extensive repairs before being sent to dealers across North America.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford is shipping the Explorer and its twin-under-the-skin Lincoln Aviator from their production facility in Chicago, Illinois to another plant in Flat Rock, just outside of Detroit, Michigan, around 440 kilometres away.
Photographs printed by the newspaper show Explorers and Aviators parked awaiting inspection or repair, as well as tents set up around the Detroit plant.
The Flat Rock plant produces Ford Mustang sports cars and Lincoln Continental sedans from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, during the weekends, and overnight workers are being called on to inspect and rectify issues with both crossovers.
One source said the company is fixing about 80 to 100 cars per shift, but the backlog stands at about 12,000 vehicles.
Such is the quantity of work needing to be done, Ford is calling in employees from other factories, including those in the Detroit metro area, but also some from as far away as Kentucky.
Roush, an outside firm which typically soups up Ford vehicles, is also being called upon to help diagnose and fix cars.
Among the Explorer and Aviator defects being fixed include transmissions unable to detect when they are in park, air conditioners only able to blow hot air, and self-levelling suspensions stuck in failure mode.
Some Explorers also reportedly have chassis issues which require x-ray scanning to detect and diagnose. Hard to fix vehicles have reportedly stayed at Flat Rock for over month, with one said to have racked up 650 kilometres on its odometer.
In response to the report, a Ford spokesperson said, "Making updates to pre-production models based on all-new platforms as they roll off the assembly line is standard industry practice".
Given current accounting practices, it may take a quarter or two before the economic impact of these extensive pre-delivery repairs are reflected in Ford's financial figures.