By on February 7, 2019

Ahead of production of its all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator at the Chicago Assembly plant, Ford is greasing the wheels with a $1 billion cash injection, adding 500 jobs in the process.

The money, destined for both Chicago Assembly and a nearby stamping plant, will ensure three crucial products make it to showrooms and law enforcement fleets by summer. As Ford plays Santa Claus, another important product — one which went on sale just last month — is now under recall.

While 3,500 vehicles is a small number in the recall world, it’s a pretty big chunk of all North American Ford Rangers in existence at this point. Automotive News reports Ford sold 2,153 Rangers in North America last month — the midsize pickup’s first month on the market.

The issue involves the truck’s shifter, which can move out of “park” while the engine is off. The automaker claims “the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal.”

Of the 3,500 recalled vehicles, some 500 or so are located in Canada. The affected trucks rolled out of Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant between June 4th, 2018, and Jan. 9th, 2019, with the automaker claiming it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the fault.

Image: Ford

In happier news, the $1 billion investment in Chicago Assembly sees the plant gain new a body and paint shop, plus upgrades to the final assembly area. Other plant areas (the parking lot and cafeteria, to name two) see upgrades. New stamping lines are coming to Chicago Stamping.

Employment between the two plants should rise to 5,800 workers, and Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global markets, told Bloomberg that hiring is nearly complete.

In an about-face to its previous all-gas Interceptor Utility, the 2020 model gains a hybrid drivetrain as standard equipment, though agencies can choose to go gas-only. The civilian Explorer also gains a hybrid variant, as well as a sportier ST model borrowing its engine from its Aviator platform mate. Lincoln’s new midsize crossover also goes green, though in a more substantial way than its Blue Oval brethren.

The Aviator’s plug-in hybrid variant gains considerable power to go with its all-electric range, with Lincoln positioning it as a performance upgrade.

[Images: Ford]

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33 Comments on “As Ford Dumps Money on Chicago, the Month-old Ranger Sees Its First Recall...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, in a rarity for Ford, this recall doesn’t involve fire, or the chance of fire, or reports of fire…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Sure, but slipping out of Park is right in line with past recalls.

      https://www.kcur.org/post/ford-issues-recall-350000-suvs-and-trucks-citing-problems-putting-them-park

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        And don’t forget the runaway cars back in the 70s, when they didn’t have all these electronics. Fords are somewhat notorious for runaways.

        • 0 avatar

          As far as I know Toyota is notorious for making runaway cars and they could not figure it out for years.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Just print some big silver-and-black warning labels, like in the Good Old Days:

          https://autoweek.com/article/wait-theres-more/little-warning-label-saved-ford-23-million-vehicle-recall

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @dukeisduke: “Just print some big silver-and-black warning labels, like in the Good Old Days:…

            — Yup.

            Oh, and it is still a mechanical issue, but a different one. The wiring harness going up to the steering wheel today is a far wider and complex one, where a little slip could be all it takes to block that shifter dial.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Vulpine, this one still sounds a mechanical issue:

          “the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal.”

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Did anyone bother to read the article? They’re not “OMG, Slipping out of PARK!!!”. The malfunction allows the Shifter to move out of PARK without (both) the Ignition in the ON position and foot on the Brake Pedal.

        Yes you still have to squeeze the Shifter Buttons to move out of PARK. If it had a Column Shifter, you’d have to pull it towards you.

        It’s basically as if the (manual) Shifter “Override” is activated, but I realize that doesn’t activate (mama) drama.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Can I pop a bag of popcorn now? This first year of the Ranger is already sounding like fun.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My 1998 Ranger had one of the “catch on fire in the driveway” recalls.

      They put some new supplementary wiring (with a ton of fuses) under the hood.

      The new Ranger: same as the old Ranger.

      The new Ranger is easy on the eyes, tho!

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The brake light switch recall? My ’95 F-150 was under that, too. I replaced my original one with the redesigned part (before mine got added to the recall), which came with a harness adapter (because the connectors were different). Then, after it got added to the recall, the dealer added the fused harness adapter for the old design switch, on top of all that.

        • 0 avatar
          AdamOfAus

          Don’t suppose you remember that part being Mexican made? My 1995 Ford Fairmont had a faulty one that disabled the brakes lights. Common problem back then on the Falcon platform cars. I figured it was a globally sourced Ford part, being made in Mexico. Back in those days there was actual local content, now we don’t even make passenger cars anymore.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Meh. It’s not nothing, but they caught it early. Better to fix 3500 now than try to bury it and fix 3 million later (hey there GM ignition switch!)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “The affected trucks rolled out of Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant between June 4th, 2018, and Jan. 9th, 2019”

    You would have thought that they could have caught this right away since they “rolled out” of Ford’s plant… LOL

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wouldn’t buy one anyways, they don’t offer a 6 ft box with the crew cab.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The only way to make a smaller truck with a 6′ box and a crew cab is to cut off the oversized schnoz and replace it with a proper (mini)van-style front end.

      Now, I think someone should make that truck. I’d drive it! BUT, it does not match the traditional pickup truck imagery, and the majority of pickup owners seem to be into that.

      Here is what the form factor I’m describing looks like:

      https://insideevs.com/tesla-pickup-truck-render-off-road/

      https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1986-mercedes-benz-unimog-416-doka/

      https://www.govplanet.eu/for-sale/Pickup-Trucks-Volkswagen-Transporter-Crew-Cab-Pickup-Germany/1736299

      It can look pretty badass. My personal appreciation for this shape being the result of wondering why my minivan had more power and better sightlines than every pickup truck I’ve ever owned, so I’m surprised by how badass it can look. But it sure doesn’t look like your grandpa’s pickup truck.

      But would any of the traditional pickup guys drive that?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Thumbs up, Luke. All the hauling capacity you could want in a pickup truck with next to no wasted space. Make ’em electric and they’d walk away with a full load while an ICE is still getting started.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The tall hood line hurts visibility but the difference in actual length isn’t nearly as much as you think.

        Front bumper to steering column:

        2019 Honda Odyssey, 188 cm
        2019 Pacifica, 192 cm
        2019 Colorado, 198 cm
        2019 F-150, 208 cm

        Front bumper to firewall:
        2019 Odyssey, 96 cm
        2019 Pacifica, 94 cm
        2019 Colorado, 115 cm
        2019 F-150, 113 cm

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          How about front bumper to steering column of a Unimog? How about front bumper to steering column of the VW transporter, both linked above? You are right about one thing, the vehicles you did choose have a maximum of 8″ difference, bumper to column and only about 4″ bumper to firewall… but look at the Odyssey again… That thing has a surprisingly long nose on it: http://newhondareviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2019-Honda-Odyssey-side.jpg Now compare that to the two existing trucks Luke showed. Very stubby by comparison. Those hoods are also steeply sloped, improving visibility enormously.

          But American pickup drivers don’t want visibility, they want to be seen driving the biggest, most Big Rig truckish look they can find. These new HD trucks look like they’ve intentionally added unnecessary height to the hood just to make them look bigger and stronger, despite the fact that aerodynamically they’re destroying highway fuel mileage as a result (though they don’t really need to since these things are marginally outside of CAFE limitations due to their overall size.) They’re just about as big as they can get and still stay shy of Medium Duty commercial truck ratings.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Vulpine – a taller hood does not necessarily affect aerodynamics. The most aerodynamic shape is similar to that of a water droplet running down a pane of glass. The leading edge is larger and curved with a smooth tapered back end. The ass end of a pickup along with the open space under the truck cause most of the drag.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Most aircraft are not shaped like that. The teardrop shape you see is really the highest drag shape a water droplet can have.

            The nose of most full-sized trucks are too tall and square in profile. Even though they are tapered to the sides, they are NOT tapered to the roof, creating a huge amount of frontal area that, when multiplied by the Coefficient of Drag, makes them practically brick walls going into the wind. The hood needs to taper down towards the bumper with only a minimal ‘notch’ shape where hood meets windshield. This alone could realize a 15%-25% gain in highway fuel mileage. Lower the undercarriage to 5 inches with a good air dam and you get even more improvement. Though I’ll grant this would also make them less trail-worthy. But then, with modern air-lift technologies, the suspension could rise as high as necessary to clear most soft-road obstacles while still permitting good fuel mileage on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Luke42 – I agree that snouts are too long. My F150 has around 8 inches of dead space between Rad and grill.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    After being burned on buying a first model year of a vehicle in 2001. I’ll not make that mistake twice. In three years or less a new ride will be required. The Ranger, will be on the list. Which will mark my first American automobile consideration in 15 years.

  • avatar
    GM JUNK

    Congrats Ford on another winner! Great job and a hats off to Ford for finding and fixing the problem before it became an issue. Unlike other domestic makers that try to cover it up.

  • avatar
    nwfmike

    Makes a good headline and keeps the internet haters fed. Not all 3500 cars were affected. It is a build process not engineering problem with a visual inspection indicating if the wires need to be rerouted.

    I remember the recent (2016) FCA recall “Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.1 million cars, SUVs for rollaway issue.

  • avatar
    nwfmike

    Makes a good headline and keeps the internet haters fed. Not all 3500 cars were affected. It is a build process not engineering problem with a visual inspection indicating if the wires need to be rerouted.

    I remember the recent (2016) FCA recall “Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.1 million cars, SUVs for rollaway issue.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Shifting into and out of Park seems like it should be something any vehicle manufacturer should have down cold by now.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Typical Ford.

    And the truck isn’t new, why is this happening.


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