Next Ford F-150 Delayed by Aluminum Quality Issues

Next Ford F-150 Delayed by Aluminum Quality Issues

Production of the next generation of North America’s best-selling vehicle might be delayed by almost three months.

The aluminum supplied by Alcoa and other tier 2 suppliers didn’t meet internal requirements for the “tooling tryout” phase of Ford’s pre-production process, according to a report by TTAC. That will be enough to hamper production of the next generation F-150 trucks by up to 10 weeks, blowing the brands targeted Memorial Day sales kickoff.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Ford F-150 to Drop Fully Boxed Frame

Ford is using aluminum body panels extensively in its new trucks – previewed in Detroit last year by the Atlas concept – and if the material’s ability to return to its original shape after being hit with a dye isn’t dead on, manufacturing can be completely derailed. While heavier, steel also isn’t as susceptible to the issue.

Because of the sub-par materials, Ford will reportedly be forced to compress its validation process in order to stem further delays. Ford’s trucks are pivotal to its success. Roughly 70 percent of Ford’s global profits come from North American sales. The company’s F-Series pickup trucks accounted for over a third of its North American sales through November.

Normally, Ford would go through two phases of pre-production vehicles before building models bound for showrooms. Those models are considered to be salable and will be pushed to dealers to minimize further delays, increasing the risk for bugs in early units and problems with Ford’s bread-and-butter product.

Update: an Alcoa representative contacted AutoGuide after this story was published to say that there aren’t issues with its aluminum panels.

GALLERY: Ford Atlas Concept


[Source: TTAC]

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  • adam222green

    This is as if written in a sit-com … “If we go to a new aluminum body, can we be sure of quality and avoid interruptions to production that would cost us sales and give market share to our competitors while the newness of the F150 model year appearance is squandered as ‘built tough’ customers question the durability of the new body?”
    [cue: canned laugh track]