Report: 2020 Ford Explorer And Lincoln Aviator Have Issues That Could Delay Deliveries

Ford says it is fixing the problems, getting cars out to dealers

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
2020 Ford Explorer. [Photo: Ford]

The vehicles are reportedly undergoing additional quality checks.

There are “manufacturing issues” with the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator that are delaying deliveries to dealers, according to a recent Detroit Free Press report. At the moment, the automaker is shipping thousands of units by truck from its Chicago plant to its Flat Rock, Michigan facility for additional quality checks to address unspecified issues.

While Ford has not specifically mentioned problems for the brand new Explorer — they did issue a recall 311,907 Explorers build between February 2016 and October 2017 for sharp seat frames that can cut passengers — a source involved with the repairs said problems include chassis and transmission issues with the Explorer, suspension problems with the Lincoln Aviator, and air conditioning issues with both cars. Other sources say workers at the Flat Rock plant are working around the clock to sort out the reported quality problems.

Some of the affected cars have already been recalled, and dealers are receiving inventory more slowly than they normally would. A Flat Rock employee said, “We routinely receive several thousand vehicles from Chicago at a time. The teams doing the fixing are working nonstop, 24/7.”

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
The Explorer is one of the best-selling SUVs in the U.S. market. [Photo: Ford]

Pulling manpower from other plants

Apart from just sending the vehicles to the Flat Rock plant delaying deliveries, Ford is pulling workers from other facilities to help with repairs, sources said. That includes bringing in labor from the company’s Louisville, Kentucky plant, as well as plants in Dearborn, Wayne and Sterling Heights, Michigan. “We date the vehicles as we receive them, and right now they’re still processing some vehicles with the dates of Aug. 6, which means many of the vehicles have been here for a month now or more,” Free Press reporters learned on September 6.

Sources say workers are managing to repair between 80 to 100 cars per shift. From there, they make their way out to dealers. However, word is somewhere around 12,000 vehicles need repairs so far, which pushes out the repair process by several weeks. “You can see this is a huge project and a huge expense for Ford.”

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

Customer issues

Despite Ford’s efforts to sort the problem before Explorers and Aviators make their way to customers, some cars undoubtedly slipped through the net. The Free Press documents the case of Stephen Shaffer from Bethesda, Maryland, who took delivery of a 2020 Ford Explorer ST. “This is my fourth Explorer, and I love the ST performance, the new interior gadgets, and the Atlas Blue color.” Despite his adoration for the car, he says the experience has included the issues mentioned above.

“A few weeks ago, it was a 90 degree-plus day in Washington, D.C., when I turned on the air conditioner — one side blew cold air and the other side was blowing extreme heat,” Shaffer said. “I thought it was something that I programmed wrong. Now I know it might be an interior issue.” Even with the issues, he still says he “loves his ST” and is confident Ford will fix the issue.

Fortunately, this report suggests Ford is taking action to correct the problem. However, those expecting their 2020 Ford Explorer or Lincoln Aviator may be in for a bit of a wait while Flat Rock workers sort out the reported quality issues. We’ll provide updates as they become available.

H/T to the Detroit Free Press for their report.