Ford executives haunted by quality problems, recurring recalls


DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is once again struggling with quality problems that are leading to recalls and driving up warranty costs. And that has top executives renewing a vow to fix the problem.

“These issues simply shouldn’t happen,” Kumar Galhotra, head of Ford Blue, the company’s traditional business in internal combustion engine vehicles, said at a BNP Paribus conference Thursday. “Fixing quality is our No. 1 priority as a company.”

Jim Farley has been promising to slash billions from warranty repair costs since he became CEO in October 2020 and the company made progress last year. But this year, it’s backsliding. Ford had to recall 100,000 hybrid models for a fire risk and stop delivering the popular Mach-E due to a defect that could cut power to the vehicle while in motion. Federal investigators are probing catastrophic engine failures on the hot-selling Bronco SUV.

“We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer satisfaction actions,” Farley told analysts Wednesday during a call to discuss Ford’s otherwise strong second quarter. “This affects our cost, but more importantly, it falls short on our most fundamental commitment to our customers.”

To get ahead of problems, Ford is more closely monitoring social media to see what customers are complaining about, Galhotra said. The automaker also hired a quality expert from researcher J.D. Power. And the company is beefing up engineering, manufacturing and supplier involvement. “We have more work to do in this space,” Farley said.


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