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North America:Ford to give new truck, car models a closer look

June 21, 2003


Ford Motor Co. will conduct extra inspections on all its new car and truck models to improve quality, Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Scheele said.

"This is how we plan all of our future launches," Scheele told reporters Friday during test drives of the new F150 pickup near San Antonio.

Ford used the extra inspections, a process called batch and hold, last year when it began producing new versions of the Expedition and Navigator sport-utility vehicles. The automaker continued the inspections with the new F150, which began production last week at a Norfolk, Va., plant. The extra inspections take place after vehicles are assembled.

The Dearborn-based automaker wants to prevent the kinds of early recalls it had with the redesigned 2002 Explorer midsize sport-utility and the new Escape small sport-utility in 2000. Ford's scores in J.D. Power & Associates' annual initial-quality survey have gotten better in the past two years, which the automaker has cited as an indicator of improvement.

"It's a quality validation," Scheele said of the extra inspections. The additional cost "is infinitesimal," he said. "The cost of not doing it is of greater concern."

Group Vice President Roman Krygier said in an April interview checking each F150 before it goes to dealers probably will take about half the time needed for the Expedition and Navigator last year. He wouldn't say how long the inspections take.

The F150 accounts for about 60 percent of sales of F-Series pickups, the top-selling line of vehicles in the United States. In addition to the Norfolk plant, a factory near Kansas City, Mo., starts producing the new F150 model in July, and a new plant in Dearborn will assemble the model next year.

Ford shares rose 24 cents to close at $11.52 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has gained 24 percent this year.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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