Ford will soon start selling and shipping some Ford Explorers without the chips that power rear air conditioning and heating controls, according to a report from Automotive News. The automaker will instead ship the missing semiconductors to dealers within one year, which they will then install in customers’ vehicles after purchase.
Customers who purchase a vehicle without the rear controls will receive a price reduction
Ford spokesperson Said Deep told The Verge that heating and air condition will still be controllable from the front seats, and that customers who choose to purchase a vehicle without the rear controls will receive a price reduction. According to Deep, Ford is doing this as a way to bring new Explorers to customers faster, and that the change is only temporary.
The automaker originally had plans to ship partially-built, undrivable vehicles to dealers last year, but now, the unchipped vehicles will be both driveable and sellable. As pointed out by Automotive News, Ford’s decision comes as an attempt to move the partially-built vehicles crowding its factory lots. Last month, hundreds of new Ford Broncos were spotted sitting idly in the snow-covered lots near Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, all of which await chip-related installations.
Like many other companies, Ford has been grappling with the constraints introduced by the chip shortage. After the lack of semiconductors forced Ford to scale back production of its popular F-150 last year (and once again earlier this month), it started giving customers the option to purchase the pickup without automatic start-stop, the feature that turns a vehicle’s engine off when it comes to a complete stop. Ford gave affected owners a $50 credit in return.
Other automakers have also had to make sacrifices due to the chip shortage, with GM dropping wireless charging, HD radios, and a fuel management module that made some pickup trucks operate more efficiently. Meanwhile, Tesla sold some cars without USB ports and made them installable at a later date. Luxury cars haven’t been exempt from the shortage either, as Cadillac nixed its hands-free driving feature in its 2022 Escalade, while BMW began shipping some cars without touchscreens.
Update March 13th 1:45PM ET: Updated to clarify that the affected vehicles are Ford Explorers and that they’ll be missing rear HVAC controls. Also updated to include some additional context surrounding Ford’s removal of the F-150’s start-stop feature due to the chip shortage, and information from a Ford spokesperson.