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Why Are 22,000 New Ford Trucks Sitting in a Huge Lot in Kentucky?

You get an idea of just how bad the microchip shortage is when you see a lot outside of Louisville, Kentucky, full of brand new Ford Super Duty pickups. Over 20,000 of Ford's best-selling pickups are waiting for chips before they can be shipped to dealers. And the lot is receiving more trucks every day.

If you are driving along I-71 between Cincy and Louisville in Kentucky you might have noticed a sea of brand new Ford Super Duty pickups sitting in a huge lot. The Sparta, Kentucky, location is not hard to miss. You might be wondering what are over 20,000 of the hottest vehicles Ford makes just sitting there? Especially with the chip shortage and all?

The chip shortage is why over 20,000 Super Duty Ford pickups are just sitting

Ford pickups in a row
Ford pickup trucks in a row | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

And then you realize you just answered your own question. Yes, the chip shortage is why there are over 20,000 Super Duty pickups and counting just sitting there. They’re waiting for microchips. That’s how bad the chip shortage has gotten.

The Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville is home to Ford’s Super Duty assembly plant. If you know Ford’s inner working then you already know that, Or, if you receive Ford’s first-quarter earnings report you also have an idea according to the Detroit Free Press

That’s because John Lawler, Ford’s chief financial officer, told analysts about the hiccup. He also alluded to the fact that the 22,000 number would in all likelihood get larger. “The semiconductor shortage and the impact to production will get worse before it gets better,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said after earnings were posted. 

Some analysts are predicting this won’t end soon

Diesel truck engines
Ford’s F250 Super Duty Power Stroke Diesel pickup truck | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The problem is that some analysts are predicting this won’t end soon. Like the next two or three years soon. And it’s not just Ford’s problem. Here are the numbers of vehicles analysts at AutoForecast Solutions say will not get built in 2021 by some manufacturers. 

They are: Ford-362,663; GM: 326,651; Renault Nissan Mitsubishi: 284,948; Volkswagen: 207,521; Stellantis: 202,486; Toyota: 113,555; and Honda: 82,482. These are the main manufacturers being hit hard by the shortage. But make no mistake; all manufacturers are being hit by the global shortage. 

“This is a growing concern,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions. “Like COVID last year, from the beginning, it seemed like it would go away in the near term but as the months go by, it’s growing into a bigger and bigger issue,” he said. “It takes so long to get a plant up and running that’s dedicated to these particular chips.” 

Everything is linked within a vehicle so everything needs microchips

rows of Ford pickup trucks
A row of Ford pickup trucks sit on display | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Microchips Are Down for Cars as the Shortage Continues

With the increased computerization of vehicles, these chips are integral to all vehicles. They operate the powertrain control unit or ECU, and basically every function within the vehicle. Everything from the air conditioning to the door handles communicates with the ECU so everything is linked. 

Ford is estimating that the chip shortage will cost $3 billion in 2021. If it goes beyond the end of the year then who knows how much that number will increase? And all of this is coming at the wrong time during a period when the demand has ramped up.