A hailstorm damaged thousands of new 2013 Ford Escapes awaiting shipment last month at Ford Motor Co.'s Louisville, Ky., assembly plant, but the incident won't delay the launch of the all-new crossover, Ford says.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Sunday that 3,500 Escapes were damaged by hail during an April 28 storm.
Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said the company is inspecting the plant's shipment lot to assess damage. He said affected SUVs will not be sold to new-car buyers.
"We haven't determined what we will do with them yet, but they will not be shipped to dealers as new," Nissen said.
He said the storm damage will not affect the Escape's launch.
"We'll be able to recover, over time, our production volume as we go through the launch of the vehicle and as the plant continues to ramp up," Nissen said.
Ford began shipping the new Escape to dealers several weeks ago, Nissen said.
This year through May 26, Ford has built 11,000 new Escapes, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The company spent $600 million to retool the Louisville plant, shifting production of the Escape from the company's Kansas City, Mo., factory.
The move created about 1,800 jobs.