The year is 2022, and vehicles either aren’t in production or missing a few features. This is how life is now, at least in the automotive industry. Ford will now begin selling Explorer SUVs without microchips, effectively eliminating a few key features. If you’re buying an Explorer with no chip that’s missing some features, you probably want a discount. So begs the question: will the new Ford Explorer be cheaper since Ford is cutting features?
Why is Ford cutting Explorer features?
According to The Verge, Ford will soon sell Explorer models without chips. More specifically, these chips power rear air conditioning and heating controls. The automaker intends to send the missing semiconductor chips to dealers within a year. They then need to install it in the already-sold Explorer for the customer. Fortunately, all this means is that rear passengers won’t be able to control air conditioning and heating for at least one year.
A Ford spokesperson told The Verge the features are still controllable from the front seats. The absence of this chip will help the automaker bring Explorers to customers more quickly. Additionally, the change is temporary, and future Explorer owners will eventually have their chips. Ford’s decision to move forward comes from an attempt to move partially-built vehicles away from factory lots. Ford lots (like many others) have been crowded by unfinished models that are waiting for parts.
Will the chipless Explorer be cheaper?
The Ford spokesperson told The Verge that customers buying an Explorer without a chip would receive a price reduction. Therefore, yes, the new Ford Explorer will be cheaper if it’s missing features. Last year, Ford wanted to ship undrivable vehicles to dealers to make space at factories. However, now the unchipped vehicles are considered driveable and will be sold to customers.
This isn’t the first time Ford has needed to finagle its way into selling an incomplete model. For example, the automaker gave customers the option to purchase the F-150 without automatic start/stop. Like the rear air conditioning controls, this isn’t a make-or-break piece of technology or equipment. However, it turns the engine off whenever the truck stops, saving gas. With today’s gas prices, features like this could be a massive money saver. Ford only gives a $50 credit to those buying the best-selling pickup without automatic start/stop.
The chip shortage has caused many automotive sacrifices
As you’d expect, Ford isn’t the only automaker forced into making sacrifices. The global semiconductor chip shortage is a massive problem for automakers worldwide. Moreover, the inability to mass-produce highly in-demand vehicles is something many companies are experiencing. For example, GM eliminated wireless charging, HD radios, and a fuel management module that made some pickup trucks more efficient.
Tesla sold cars without USB ports but allowed customers to install them later. BMW, most notably, shipped vehicles to dealers for sale without touchscreens, which is a highly requested feature in any car. Lastly, the 2022 Cadillac Escalade does not have hands-free driving. Automated and assisted driving is prevalent, so those sacrifices are difficult for automakers.
Many automakers are struggling because of the chip shortage. Ford has already cut features from other models, but the Explorer is next. Fortunately, the missing feature is unimportant and easily worked around, but Ford is still offering the Explorer models at a lower cost. That’s why, yes, the new Ford Explorer will be cheaper since Ford is cutting features.