Ford to build some F-150s without certain modules due to chip shortage

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has begun building some F-150 pickups and Edge crossovers without certain electronic modules due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage and parts disruptions following last month’s severe winter weather.

The automaker said it would build and hold affected vehicles for a number of weeks, then ship them to dealers once modules are available and it can finish comprehensive quality checks.

The F-150 pickup, redesigned for the 2021 model year, is the nation’s top-selling vehicle and a key profit driver for the automaker. It is built at plants in Michigan and Missouri.

Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said Thursday the modules needed for the affected vehicles are “tied to basic vehicle functions, such as windshield wiper motors and infotainment features.”

Felker said the updates can be performed at an offsite location at a later date, which would protect future production at the affected plants.

The news comes the same week General Motors announced it was building certain 2021 light-duty full-size pickup trucks without a fuel management module, hurting those vehicles’ fuel economy performance.

Additionally, Ford Thursday said it was canceling the Thursday evening shift as well as both Friday shifts at its Louisville Assembly Plant. The factory, which builds the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossovers, has faced numerous disruptions because of the chip shortage.

Ford said output at the plant would resume Monday on short shift patterns, but would return to normal on Tuesday.

The automaker also said it would suspend production in Europe at its Cologne, Germany, Fiesta plant March 22. The factory was previously down March 1-16.

Ford has said that if the shortage persists through the first half of 2021, it could affect adjusted earnings before interest and taxes by between $1 billion and $2.5 billion. Despite the bottlenecks, Ford earlier this month told dealers they would see “no negative impact” to retail business.