The new 2020 Ford Explorer continues to amaze, but not in a good way. It seems to be jinxed with the number of problems it continues to face. Nothing about its launch or first year of production has gone well, and now it faces yet another challenge to overcome. Bloomberg first brought some of the Explorer’s problems to attention. Let’s review, shall we?
Assembled Explorers have been transported from where they are assembled in Chicago to Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant outside of Detroit for remedial repairs before shipment to dealers. Some Explorers are getting past this effort to catch each issue at Flat Rock and are shipped to dealers needing further repairs.
Many Explorers have been returned to dealers after purchase to fix issues new owners experience sometimes driving home from the dealer. One new Explorer purchased by Consumer Reports for testing had infotainment screen issues where information jiggled or flipped.
As a result of continued issues experienced by buyers, Ford issued a recall of early 2020 Explorers and Aviators.
There’s the weirdness at the Chicago plant causing more problems
“Roving groups of workers are intimidating other employees, creating a hostile environment, the people said. That’s driving up turnover and leaving some vehicle assembly unfinished, contributing to the company having to complete the work at the Michigan factory or at dealerships.”
It sounds like fun times-Not!
With plans for the 95-year-old Chicago plant to produce Ford’s Explorer, Police Interceptor, and Lincoln Aviator it spent $1 billion in upgrades for it and a Chicago stamping plant. Part of that went towards security enhancements in the wake of the personnel issues.
Back in 2017, Ford paid out over $10 million in harassment claims.
Ford’s current problems are safety and PR in nature. Part of the redesign of the Explorer was to address its poor results in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests. The results of the 2020 Explorer tests are out, and it failed to rate a “Top Safety Pick” from IIHS. In its driver-side overlap front test, the Explorer received only an “acceptable” rating rather than “Good.”
For that, it can’t receive the Top Safety Pick rating, and all of the marketing hype it brings. The overlap test simulates an impact with an object like a tree or another vehicle. It’s staged at 40 mph with the vehicle hitting a barrier with 25% of the total width of the front end. We’ve included the video provided by the IIHS for you to see the actual test.
The IIHS did say the new Explorer has better protection than the previous versions. But it said, “In the test of the new model there was enough intrusion into the outboard part of the footwell to elevate the risk of injury to the driver’s left leg, as indicated by measures taken from the dummy, resulting in an overall rating of acceptable.”
Ford says it will make changes to achieve a better result for the next testing performance. One would hope.
The Explorer is an important vehicle for Ford and sales have dropped since its introduction. The plant is said to be running at full capacity attempting to replenish dealers.