America’s All-Time Best-Selling SUV Threatens Ford’s Q3 Sales

By Mia Bevacqua

Dealers have struggled to get their hands on America’s all-time best-selling SUV, the Ford Explorer, for most of the year. And now, the ever-popular model is poised to take a bite out of the company’s third-quarter sales.

Earlier this month, Ford reported Explorer deliveries were down nearly 50% during the quarter. “Manufacturing issues” were noted as the cause. But now, Mark LaNeve, Ford’s U.S. sales chief, says dealers have adequate stock on hand.

Yet the problems continue. A batch of 2,500 Explorers requiring repair recently arrived at Ford’s factory in Flat Rock, Michigan. The shipment came from the automaker’s Chicago plant, where the SUV is built.

The Chicago plant, it seems, may be having issues that are affecting Explorer quality and production. Individuals close to the situation told The Detroit News:

“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.”

According to a spokeswoman, however, Ford is unaware of any employee intimidation issues currently at hand.

All of the Explorer-related problems are likely to cost Ford in the third quarter. Analysts at Bloomberg expect the automaker will report third-quarter profits slipping from 29 cents per share to 26 cents per share. Revenue is anticipated to drop from $34.7 billion to $34.3 billion.