Ford is recalling 3,095 F-series ambulances over defective sensor

Article by Anita Panait, on November 6, 2013

Ford is recalling 3,095 F-series ambulances due a possible defect that might cause them to stall and not restart for at least an hour. The recall covers 2011-2012 ambulances powered by 6.7-liter diesel engines, including Super Duty F-350 and F-450 trucks, built at the Kentucky Truck Plant from Feb. 22, 2010, to Oct. 19, 2012.

Ford said the recall does not include non-ambulance F-series vehicles. On Oct. 28, 2013, Ford notified the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a defect in the exhaust gas temperature sensor might cause some ambulances to stop and not be restarted for at least one hour.

According to Ford, it received no reports of the problem affecting patient care, but it is taking action due to the "unique nature of ambulances." A Ford spokeswoman remarked that the carmaker is not aware of any accidents or injuries attributed to the defect, including to the patients riding in the ambulances. Ford sold 2,934 of the ambulances in the United States, 51 in Canada, two in Mexico, and 108 elsewhere. The sensor will be replaced by Ford’s dealers.

Just last month, Ford announced that it is planning to have 40 percent less suppliers to cut the cost of making its cars and trucks. The carmaker buys around $100 billion worth of parts each year. Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of global purchasing at Ford, the US carmaker has the long-term goal of cutting its number of suppliers from 1,260 in 2012 to just around 750 suppliers.

In addition, Ford is trimming down the number of platforms that underpin its vehicles, thereby lowering development costs and giving the US carmaker the capability of sourcing from fewer suppliers. Thai-Tang remarked that around 80 percent of its parts are sourced from its top 100 suppliers while about 60 percent are from its 65 largest parts makers. Thai-Tang added that Ford is seeking a long-term strategic partnership with key suppliers, which should lead to better business results for both parties.

On the first full year that Alan Mulally became CEO of Ford, he was able to make Ford more profitable by cutting the number of vehicle platforms from 27 in 2007 to 14 currently. According to Thai-Tang, Ford's lineup will have nine platforms by 2017. Savings from consolidating its platforms have allowed Ford to boost its profit margins. In fact, from 2006 to 2008, Ford reported a loss of $30.1 billion. But from 2009 through 2012, Ford posted earnings of $35.2 billion.

In the 2012 fiscal year, Ford was able to exceed its goals in quality and cost performance. But the US carmaker that it failed to reach its global goals for profit before taxes, operating cash flow as well as market share.

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