The quality glitches that have plagued the 2013 Lincoln MKZ launch are not isolated. Ford Motor Co. has had a recurring problem with recent vehicle launches.
Ford has issued five recalls on the 2013 Escape and two on the 2013 Fusion, the most serious involving vehicles with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engines. Ford asked some customers to park their vehicles after cooling problems caused at least nine vehicles to overheat and catch fire. Ford blamed a software glitch.
Ford had one of its most aggressive vehicle launch programs in its history last year, as it rolled out the 2013 Escape, Fusion and C-Max Hybrid. The MKZ and Fusion are built in Hermosillo, Mexico.
With the MKZ, Ford kicked off a new Lincoln quality inspection process. But the volume quickly overwhelmed inspectors. On Feb. 1, Ford said it was sending the overflow to its Flat Rock, Mich., plant for inspections.
Joe Hinrichs, a manufacturing specialist who took over as Ford president of the Americas after Mark Fields became COO on Dec. 1, said last week that parts shortages caused more delays. Hinrichs said he wouldn't blame suppliers because Ford also had internal issues. He noted the MKZ launch had come on the heels of the major Fusion launch.
Whether Ford has put its recent launch problems behind it will be seen with this year's launches, which include a restyled Ford Fiesta, built in Cuautitlan, Mexico, and a redesigned Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, both built in Oakville, Ontario.