Ford is about to enter production for the next-generation F-150 pickup. But the automaker is not taking any chances in case things don’t go according to plan.
In a memo obtained by the Detroit Free Press, Ford has notified its workers at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan to be prepared in case the team at the Dearborn Truck Plant needs help with potential repairs.
“There have been rumors of us doing repairs for F-150. In the event that the launch for the F-150 doesn’t go well, we are on the list of getting some repair cars,” Kenny Tomalak, Flat Rock facility chairman, said in the memo. “This is all in preparation for the worst-case scenario. Early indications show that the launch will go well, but management is preparing for the worst just in case.”
He added, “There are three plants that are in this plan and we are the third after DTP (Dearborn Truck Plant, which builds the F-150) themselves. I will keep you informed as more develops.”
While there could be nothing wrong with having a plant on standby for potential repairs, it is a move deemed out of the ordinary for automakers.
But taking into consideration what happened during the launch of the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs last year, and the fact that the Chicago Assembly Plant was overwhelmed with continuous launches one after the other, Ford could just be preparing for unforeseen circumstances.
The memo goes to show that Ford does not want a repeat of the previous year, especially since the reputation of the Blue Oval’s cash cow for years could be at stake.
“If the F-150 launch doesn’t go well, that’s not good for anybody. We don’t want a brand new vehicle to be in need of repair,” an unnamed worker at the Flat Rock assembly said.
Ford declined to comment on the circulating memo. Instead, a representative for the company said that the upcoming launch of the next F-150 is “on track and on time.”