Ford Delays Vehicles After Running Out of Badges

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford delays vehicles after running out of badges

With supply constraints persisting within the automotive industry, the knowledge that a manufacturer has induced a production stall due to a lack of parts is hardly big news. Nobody seems able to source enough batteries and the semiconductor shortage has left automakers dealing with routine factory shutdowns. But Ford seems to be confronting one of the saddest examples we’ve yet seen and has confirmed that it’s delaying trucks – seemingly because it doesn’t have enough trim badging or Blue Ovals to go around.

Granted, this is relatively small potatoes compared to earlier production stalls. In 2021, Ford was building mostly functional vehicles without semiconductors and just letting them sit around until the chips finally arrived. Though this was becoming brutally common among automakers after pandemic-related restrictions completely upended the supply chain. General Motors took a similar approach and was estimated to have roughly 100,000 partially built vehicles just sitting around over the summer. Many companies likewise elected to stop production altogether while others (e.g. Audi and GM) offered special trims that were effectively discontented base models requiring fewer computer chips.

Considering the above, it’s no wonder that the latest studies have suggested vehicles manufactured over the last couple of years have had some reliability issues vs their predecessors. Everyone’s been scrambling to maintain increasingly scaled-back production schedules during a period where nobody knew if they’d have the right components. While the situation has improved somewhat recently, the case of Ford running out of badges is a reminder that we’re not yet out of the woods.

The manufacturer began storing unfinished F-Series pickups at the Kentucky Speedway late last month – something it also did last year due to the semiconductor shortage. Last week, Ford also said it expects to have about 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles in inventory at the end of the third quarter that couldn’t be shipped to dealers because they were awaiting needed parts. The company later confirmed with The Wall Street Journal that these units were primarily high-margin trucks and SUVs suffering from component shortages that “primarily involved parts other than semiconductors.”

While the company declined to commit to a lack of badges being a contributing factor, it’s hard to presume they made no difference considering the timing. A Michigan-based supplier (Tribar Technologies) known to have produced badges for Ford disclosed to regulators at the end of the summer that it had accidentally dumped industrial-grade chemicals (hexavalent chromium) into the local sewer system. As a result, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy shut the company’s operations down in August.

It certainly makes Ford look bad. But the reality of the situation is that just about everyone is still having trouble with suppliers. In addition to the ongoing deficit of computer chips and EV batteries, automakers are citing insufficient amounts of glass, carpet, rubber, and seating coming from suppliers. Ford’s issue just happens to be funnier because badging is probably the most non-essential part of any car (effectively serving as a form of advertising) and the company’s emblems haven’t been known for standing up to the test of time. There are even forum threads dedicated to this singular issue.

As someone who has owned a handful of Ford products myself, I can attest to this being anecdotally true. But it seems to be a matter of quality control from the supplier, rather than some universal defect. Ironically, the one Blue Oval that stayed the bluest was affixed to my 1998 Crown Victoria LX – a vehicle that spent the vast majority of its life sleeping outdoors.

Regardless of how well they hold up, Ford needs to address the badge problem and any other supply constraints it’s currently dealing with immediately. The company recently reported that shipment delays will shift some revenue to the fourth quarter and estimates quarterly results will be $1 billion shy of its previous targets due to higher payments going to suppliers and general inflationary pressures. Its stock valuation has also been moving in the wrong direction, though Wall Street has been trending downward generally of late. 

Based on the present state of the industry, I'm sure they could come up with a clever name for models sold sans-badge and convince customers to pay for the emblem-delete option. I can even imagine the ad campaign copy: "People don't deserve to be labeled, why should your truck?"

[Image: Neveshkin Nikolay/Shutterstock]

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5 of 33 comments
  • TheMrFreeze TheMrFreeze on Sep 28, 2022

    You can' t tell me that Ford doesn't have a warehouse full of 3D printers that could pump out some temporary Ford badges to get new owners by until the real ones are available again. Preventing the sale of a $40K vehicle for a $3 badge is bad business

    • See 2 previous
    • Bullnuke Bullnuke on Sep 29, 2022

      These missing badges can be added to the list of missing items on Ford's trucks. I just saw a video of the Kentucky Speedway from a couple days ago - from empty on 16 August the speedway is now full of Super Duty's (40k or so) awaiting components to complete assembly:

  • RHD RHD on Sep 29, 2022

    Too bad Ford axed the Mercury brand. There must be pallets and crates of old Mercury badges just sitting around that they could use.

  • Jwee More range and faster charging cannot be good news for the heavily indebted and distracted Musk.Tesla China is discounting their cars. Apart from the Model 3, no one is much buying Tesla's here in Europe. Other groups have already passed Tesla in Europe, where it was once dominant.Among manufacturers, 2021 EV sales:VW Group 25%, Stellantis at 14.5%,Tesla at 13.9%Hyundai-Kia at 11.2% Renault Group at 10.3%. Just 2 years ago, Tesla had a commanding 31.1% share of the European EV marketOuch., changed their data, so this is slightly different than last time I posted this, but same idea.
  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Unrelated to this article but of interest I found this on You Tube which explains why certain vehicles are not available in the US because of how the CAFE measures fuel standards. I remember you commenting on this a few years ago on another article on TTAC. The 2023 Chevrolet Montana is an adorable small truck that's never coming to the USA. It's not because of the 1.2L engine, or that Americans aren't interested in small trucks, it's that fuel economy legislation effectively prevents small trucks from happening. What about the Maverick? It's not as small as you think. CAFE, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy is the real reason trucks in America are all at least a specific dimension. Here's how it works and why it means no tiny trucks for us.
  • Gabe A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.