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post #18 of (permalink) Old 06-15-2010
LQQK's Avatar
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by CorvetteDreamin View Post
This was posted over at The Mustang Source by OAC_Sparky. It is good information for all those concerned about their cars location and how they're built.

This was addressing the issue of the lack of information available from Ford to its customers. Specifically, JonnyB being shut down.

Viperpilot (referred to below) is on BlueOvalNews but not sure if he exists here or TMS. He's definitely an "in the know" guy.

So take a seat, get a cup of coffee, a beer, water, whatever suits you and learn a little along the way.


The problem isn't "hiding information" per se. The problem is that the employees that are accessing the system are in fact violating the Corporate Confidentiality Agreement that are agreeing to every time they log into a Ford Computer.

Sometimes, people tend bend the rules because in their hearts they want to help -- they're loyal employees and car enthusiasts themselves. But when there is a rather widespread issue (like the Mustang holds now, the Mustang delays in '05, the Hybrid Escape holds a while back), rumors start flying, conjecture is made, accusations happen; and what happens is the extra attention (both negative and positive) draws the interest of upper management.

And what happens is that some poor schmuck gets his job threatened because as far as Ford is concerned, giving out tracking dates is no different than publishing wholesale pricing lists, etc. It's a breach of your employment conditions.

This is precisely why Viperpilot stopped tracking vehicles. There was a quality/certification hold on the Hybrid Escapes/Mariners and people started getting accusatory that Ford was holding them to let incentives date, etc which is a load of BS. But a few of these became persistant in their accusations, calling Ford corporate threatening to sue. (Word to the unenlightened ~~ if you really want reasonable resolution with a company, be careful with throwing around the word "lawsuit". Once it is mentioned most times it becomes a Corporate legal matter and nobody at a lower level will help you. ie don't threaten it unless you mean it.) So he was forced to stop all tracking -- the service became too hot. I'm sure you all understand that a guy's job and family comes before just helping people out.

Now, if I may, I'm going to impart some knowledge to some of you that aren't really familiar with the order and build process (and those that think they are but are not). This is coming from someone with nearly 25 years with the company, in production and in maintaining the equipment.

[1] When Ford builds a new or largely revamped car (which the '11 Mustangs are with 2 new drivetrains), Ford will do a small prebuild sometimes only by hand with a small number of production specialist and engineers to work through any bugs in either design or build process. Once things seem to be worked out, they usually do a "batch integrated build" where during the '10 model year they run a batch of '11s and then go back to '10s. More bugs are worked out. But it still isn't a full production run. The whole process repeats itself in preparation of the Job 1 date; and this is also happening at all the suppliers as well.

Once Job 1 comes and they start running in earnest, they ramp up production; but vehicles are put on quality hold until you have 3 days of zero defects. After this happens, then all the units (after any repairs or adjustments of course) are released. This can be a delay of a few weeks -- and dealers should be more forthcoming about this when accepting preorders.

[2] In a assembly plant, every worker has a job -- but this might not be the same job on every car. Some models may involve more work than others (for example an empty cargo van would be easier to build than a decked out passenger van). So what the plant has to do is settle on a "blend rate" to best distribute not only workload but what the supplier can provide. So if the set blend is ie 60/35/5% V6/GT/Shelby, they order parts from suppliers in that ratio. If one part runs low or the supplier has a production hiccup, if the part can be put on later (ie an a-pillar), they will continue to build the cars then store them so when the shipments come in the cars can be completed.

Now, keep in mind that suppliers size their manufacturing capacity to their demand -- it's logical business sense. But when they do get behind, not only do they have to make up past losses but they still have to build for current production as well. As unfair as it sounds, the assembly plant just can't stop production to give ALL the parts to waiting cars -- they would be losing money on all the cars if they did. So the delay for this can also take weeks to catch up and fit out the waiting cars.

[3] Just a quick note on dealer allocation and build order. No, it's not a perfect system. And no, it's not always fair. And yes, I wish there was a better system. But it's an attempt, believe it or not, at fairness.

Imagine, the day the '11 order banks open, some dealer in Ohio puts in 100 Mustang orders and it your dealer was having internet problems and got your order in last. Maybe your car wouldn't get built for a long time. That isn't fair either -- some dealer in Ohio selling Mustangs on eBay while you can't get one.

So what Ford tries to do, is give allocation based on past sales history (although it seems like favoritism), so that even small dealers can take a kick at the can. Now, generally speaking, customer orders are given a better priority code than dealer orders -- but you still have to consider BLEND (above). If the blend is still 5% Shelbys that STILL means that 19 "other" Mustangs will be built before you even get one shot at it. And keep in mind that ALL options have a blend rate -- whether its V6 vs GT, Shaker vs EP, Auto vs stick. Dealers order a "rapid spec" which is not only a good balance of options to have on the lot, but also a "sweet spot" as far as blend goes too. THAT's why it seems that some dealers seem to get their lot stock while you're waiting.


So finally, I want to impress a few last points. Ford doesn't want people waiting for their cars. Metal sitting in a yard somewhere isn't bringing in Ford money. Ford wants to move the car just as much as you want to receive it, so they can move onto the next sale. Believe me on this.

The good news is that Ford is attempting to temper the desire to move cars with building quality cars. If the past is any indication, it's a much easier route to just say "good enough" and ship it and let the dealership and customer deal with it. We want you to be happy with your purchases, and would rather see a delay to give you the perfect car than rush you something less than perfect.

Yes, the wait sucks, been there, done that. I'm buying a late '11 early '12 myself, but I'm aiming to get it for NEXT summer, I'll be ordering in January/February/March because I'm in no hurry and I want to get the best incentives I can.
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