DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.'s pivot to a build- to-order sales model has been a lifeline for dealers suffering from near-empty lots amid the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
Now, CEO Jim Farley wants to keep up the strategy even after the chip crisis abates — pitting a desire for more-efficient production and bigger profit margins against American consumers' insistence on instant gratification.
"Buyers have been accustomed to wanting a car, buying a car and driving it home that day," Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told Automotive News.
But the chip shortage eliminated that option for many buyers. More than a quarter of Ford's retail sales in the third quarter came from its burgeoning order bank, which sits at roughly 139,000 vehicles and has grown with the help of a $1,000 discount for customers who wait.