Quality Issues Leads to Bumpy Takeoff for 2020 Ford Explorer

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
quality issues leads to bumpy takeoff for 2020 ford explorer

Sales figures are now rolling in from the Detroit Three automakers, with Ford now reporting third-quarter volumes. While Matthew Guy will have a roundup for you later today, we can share that Ford’s most recent sales quarter was not a stellar affair, made worse by the bungled launch of a high-profile model.

As we’ve told you already, a myriad of quality issues kept thousands of Chicago-built Explorers and Lincoln Aviators from reaching dealers this summer, with the afflicted rides instead travelling by truck to Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly for fixing before buyers could take delivery. As you’d expect, this impacted the Explorer’s sales performance and further weighed down a brand that saw its sales fall 5.6 percent in the last quarter.

The introduction of a new model coincides with a sell-down of remaining stock, and the overlap can often lead to a poor month (or quarter) for a given nameplate. However, in the Explorer’s case, constrained supply born by the detoured 2020 model resulted in a 48-percent sales drop.

Ford stated in a release that it went into the third quarter with limited inventory, adding that its stock of 2020 Explorers continues building as customers take a strong liking to the Limited and new ST models. Speaking to Bloomberg, Ford sales boss Mark LaNeve admitted that the company found itself short of supply, but stressed that the worst is over.

“We’ve got adequate inventory in our stores,” LaNeve said. “For Q4, availability won’t be an issue. We’ll be able to hit our stride with Explorer starting now.”

A report last month detailed numerous issues plaguing 2020 Explorers and Aviators. As workers at Flat Rock, joined by available employees at other plants, worked flat-out to mend the vehicles, the automaker was forced to keep thousands of showroom-ready units sitting idle for up to a month. Both the Explorer and Aviator are crucial vehicles for their respective brands.

As one eagle-eyed reader noticed, the problems aren’t relegated just to the repair lot.

Regardless, the 1,899 Aviators added to the sales ledger last quarter helped push the Lincoln brand to an 11.7-percent sales increase, with year-to-date volume up 4.7 percent. The boost wasn’t all the Aviator’s doing, however. A 24.1 percent increase in quarterly Nautilus sales and a 9.4 percent rise for the top-flight Navigator would have pushed Lincoln above its Q3 2018 tally even if the Aviator hadn’t shown up.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Oct 02, 2019

    Ford/Lincoln makes such horrendously sh*tty vehicle, with a few notable exceptions (F Series, outgoing Fusion, Mustang is okay, sort of), that they literally bring up the rear, just above Jaguar/Land Rover/Range Rover, in the reliability rankings (and no, it’s not just horrendous trim and panel and interior assembly and electronic or infotainment gremlins, but MAJOR TRANSMISSION, ENGINE AND EVEN FUNDAMENTAL BODY STRUCTURE ISSUES), that all shareholders should immediately demand the prompt resignation of Jim Hackett, and the installation of an engineer panel and quality control panel to do a top to bottom review of all facilities, processes, suppliers, etc. Hyundai and KIA are sooo far ahead of Ford in terms of complete, inside to outside, fit/finish to mechanical/powertrain/drivetrain quality and reliability that it's not even funny...it makes me feel terrible as an American who loves America. The Hyundai Palisade and KIA Telluride both are built with materials so much better, inside and out, and with an assembly precision about 880% better than these rolling dumpster fire Ford/Lincoln SUVs, at a price that's real world 30% less (with more equipment). #PatheticFoMoCo

  • John M John M on Aug 07, 2021

    I owned one. Not a world car, more of a bigger Volkswagen. The silly 5 cylinder engine was just a 1.5l VW 4 with an extra cylinder added! Same cam, spacing, everything. Cheap ass crap! Still, I got on "huge" 215 width tires (front only), put shorter, cut down springs from a much heavier car in front, bolted the subframe directly to the car (it originally used rubber bushings), giving it some crazy cornering ability. Had no power though. It didn't help I was using Castrol 20w50 oil which eventually ruined the engine but I learned the hard way. Drove that thing in NYC, up and down the east coast, and then to San Francisco. Never let me down. It was wide enough to sleep across the back seat, almost comfortably! Bosch K Jetronic mechanical fuel injection was not responsive but was dead reliable. Unfortunately mine was an automatic. The color was "Dakota Beige". Great color. I was spraying some repairs once and asked someone watching if they wanted a tan (answer: NO). I also removed all the stupid black trim strips and filled the holes, giving it really clean custom look, plus mine was a 79 and it had the 4 round headlights with the weird silver plastic trim, which was really strange and unique and I liked it. Blacked out windows in back, sunroof (sometimes would drive through the park with someone standing up through the roof like a staff car!), had a lot of fun with that thing. If I took the front wheel of my mountain bike it would easily fit in the trunk! So much room in that thing. It was great in many ways.

  • Kcflyer The solution is harsh punishment, long prison terms, for car thieves. I suggest two weeks for first offense (unless they run from the cops or commit other offenses. Second offense, thirty years hard labor. That should do it.
  • Oberkanone Installing immobilizer is the answer. It's not hard. It's not expensive.
  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.