The year 2019 was a completely different time for the automotive industry. Back to a time when events and vehicle launches were still happening on schedule, Ford was able to debut the latest generation of the Explorer for the upcoming model year.
The three-row crossover made its first red carpet appearance at last year’s Chicago Auto Show. Unfortunately for the Blue Oval, it was far from perfect, to say the least. The launch was notoriously slow and plagued with problems.
Ford executives addressed this at the company’s recent 65th annual shareholders meeting where they also tried to reassure stockholders regarding the effects of the company’s two-month production shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting was held via teleconferencing, which has been a practice for Ford in the last few years. Among the main agenda in the online assembly were the impact of the pandemic on the company as well as operational changes that need to be made once the industry returns to normal.
The disaster that was the 2020 Explorer launch was also brought up and what measures Ford will take to prevent it from happening again. This is particularly important as the automaker prepares to debut the next-generation F-150 full-size pickup truck, its hybrid version, as well as the highly anticipated 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, 2021 Ford Bronco, Bronco Sport, and Mustang hybrid.
According to Ford, one of the problems the company faced with the Explorer launch was that it tried to launch too many trim levels at the same time: a hybrid version, the Police Interceptor utility vehicle, as well as its sibling in the form of a luxury Lincoln Aviator that also came with a plug-in hybrid.
Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said it was an “over-aggressive effort” to launch the revamped model and new Lincoln Aviator. But he claims the Blue Oval has fixed these shortcomings and are now better prepared to manage upcoming vehicle launches.