Booming Full-Size Truck Sales Causing Quality Issues – Growth To Fast?
The recent surge in full-size trucks has been a huge part of the economic recovery and increased profitably of automakers. Yet, could the boom lead to long-term quality issues? Ford thinks so.
Ford Motor Co.’s Hau Thai-Tang told Reuters that the recent surge has put a lot of pressure on third-party suppliers causing them to really ramp up production. This means that many of the shops that are left (quite a few closed during the recession) are running around the clock to fill orders. As most everyone understands, when you run your business that way, it is inevitable that quality will suffer some. Thai-Tang said; “Everyone is running flat out and it’s contributing to some of the quality challenges that we’ve seen.”
He also went on to say that there could be long-term effects for these parts suppliers since preventive maintenance schedules have been put on the back burner.
While Thai-Tang spoke directly about Ford’s concerns, it isn’t too hard to imagine this problem is affecting everyone. For example, it could be a big part of the delay for the new Chrysler Grand Cherokee and Toyota Tundra pickups. It is highly possible that the slow roll out of the Grand Cherokee and a surprisingly slow roll out of the Tundra pickups could be a supplier issue.
Thai-Tang went on to say that the number of suppliers running at high capacity is declining a bit. But, that Ford did have one vehicle (unnamed) that caused them concerns due to the high capacity.
This all leads back to the number one issue all automakers are trying to achieve – a globalization of parts. This would allow automakers like Ford to use one part on numerous vehicles throughout the world. It has many benefits for the automakers including production, profit and quality improvements. Plus, parts suppliers could grow significantly (if they are chosen for the contracts).
In the end, it will be years before we realize how much the surge in auto sales leads to quality concerns.
What do you think? Does this news cause you concern?
Filed Under: Auto News