Amid all the other problems facing Ford, now they're having to cut production of one of their most in-demand and profitable vehicles just weeks after launching it. Three quarters of the 200,000 Super-Duty pickup trucks that Ford sells annually are equipped with the Power Stroke diesel V-8 made by International Truck. In the previous generation of the trucks, the 6.0L version had an unusually high number of warranty problems. This caused Ford to sue International in January to try and recover some of those repair costs.

Subsequently, when production of the new 6.4L engine began for the new trucks, Ford held back money from their payments to International to cover those warranty costs. In response, International suspended engine production this week. Now Ford has started cutting production of the trucks, starting March 1, with daily shifts going from three to one on March 5. Ford has 50,000 dealer orders for the new Super Duty and they desperately need to get this issue resolved. The diesels are popular because they have higher towing capacity than either of the two available gas engines and also get much better fuel economy.

Update: Late on Wednesday an Oakland County judge issued a court oder requiring International to resume production and shipments of the 6.4L engines to Ford while the dispute is settled. Because they stopped ordering engine parts it's not clear when production would actually resume but Ford expects full production to resume sometime next week.

Update 2: International has said they will comply with the court order and resume shipments of engines to Ford. Part of the order was that Ford will pay for the engines without withholding any money from their warranty cost dispute.

[Source: Automotive News - subscription required]

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