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article imageLaunch of 2020 Ford Explorer not going as planned

By Karen Graham     Oct 21, 2019 in Business
Ford Motor Company's Chicago plant has had a ton of problems producing the new 2020 Explorer, with thousands of the SUVs needing to be sent to Michigan for reworking. Sales have dropped as a result. There have also been personnel problems at the plant.
Ford Motor Company's CEO, Jim Hackett and Wall Street investors got off on the wrong foot earlier this year, with stats showing the automaker was underperforming. Hackett appealed to investors for a little more time., assuring them the redesigned 2020 Explorer SUV coming off the line months later would prove his point.
However, Bloomberg is reporting there are bigger problems behind the scenes that could put Hackett back in the hot seat with investors and even put his career in jeopardy..
Mark LaNeve, the automaker’s U.S. sales chief, told analysts on Oct. 2 that the Chicago plant had started shipping Explorers directly to dealers. But most of those models have required repairs before they can be sold, said people who asked not to be identified describing internal issues the company is having.
Additionally, it was discovered that a shipment of 2,500 Explorers recently turned up at Ford's Flat Rock Michigan plant for post-production fixes.
Ford is not experiencing similar setbacks as it begins building a redesigned version of its Escape compact SUV at its factory in Louisville, Kentucky. LaNeve told analysts the Escape “is a much more normal launch.” But, again, the problem may go deeper than this.
2020 Ford Explorer
2020 Ford Explorer
Ford Motors
The Problem with the assembly plant
Just days after Hackett debuted the new 2020 Explorer - which hadn’t been redesigned in almost a decade - He described Ford's product development as being "constipated." He said his executive team was going to fix the problem.
“The new Explorer and Ranger, which our administration kind of intercepted in process, are good examples of where we started to have influence,” said Hackett, who played football for Bo Schembechler in the 1970s at the University of Michigan.
However, Hackett wasn't counting on a "problem child" throwing a tantrum again. The Chicago assembly plant has been fined twice in the last two decades by federal workplace-harassment regulators. The plant has a history of dissension that’s hampering productivity and quality, according to people familiar with the situation.
Ford says it has no knowledge of the alleged problems in the assembly plant, but sources say “roving groups of workers” are intimidating other employees within the bowels of Chicago Assembly, hampering production and leading to mistakes that must be fixed offsite.
“This Explorer issue is going to be a big negative for the quarter,” said Morningstar analyst David Whiston. “It’s a viciously competitive market and you don’t want to be missing one of your big hitters.”
More about Ford Motors, 2020 Explorer, Chicago plant, personnel problems, thirdquarter profits
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