DETROIT -- Ford's 3,000 U.S. dealers will begin receiving stock orders of 2015 F-150 pickups by year end, but customers who order a truck with a specific trim and colors will have to wait until February to take delivery, according to a letter from Ford that was leaked onto the Internet.
"We understand the desire to get the customer units as quickly as possible, but do not want to compromise our commitment to quality for the sake of a few additional weeks of delivery," says the Aug. 20 letter to dealers signed by Kevin Giacomini, Ford's distribution planning manager, and John Bradley, Ford's allocation and commodity manager.
Ford says fleet customers also will have to wait until February to take delivery.
Ford's Dearborn truck plant is closing Aug. 25 for an extended changeover to the 2015 aluminum-body F-150. The first preproduction prototypes are to roll off the line about Oct. 22.
"Customers are excited for the all-new F-150, which they will be able to buy and drive off dealer lots late this year," a Ford spokesman said. "Those customers ordering specific configurations may not receive their truck until early 2015."
Mitchell Dale, owner of McRee Ford in Dickinson, Texas, said the times announced in the letter "are probably later than some people are thinking," but "it doesn't mean anything's been slipped back any" in terms of timing.
"What this is telling us is manage the retail order expectations," he said. "Some dealers will receive some stock orders before they receive retail orders."
Dale said: "There are three order pipes: a stock order, a retail order with customer's name on it and a fleet order."
In the letter, Ford also gave new details about the timing of the redesigned 2015 Mustang.
"The new Mustang is in production," Ford wrote. "We expect retail order scheduling of the coupe to begin in late September with dealer arrivals in November."