Feb Looks More Promising for Edge

By: Glady Reign

The Edge, a midsize crossover sport utility vehicle under the Ford marquee, has become controversial not only for of its distinctive appeal but due to last year's delay in scheduled delivery to dealerships. According to the Ford Motor Corp., the delay was triggered by last minute supplier concerns, stubborn weather that includes ice storms in Texas, and other quality issues. The Ford Edge was finally delivered on December instead of the scheduled early part of November.

The CUV from Ford is off to a nice start, with January's first full-month sales greater than those of the Ford Fusion sedan which is the big hit of Ford's last year's. Moreover, the automaker expects to yield more sales this February.

Ford knows that one wrong move in these crucial phase of its turnaround plan could cost the company its future. This is why the automaker was obviously vigilant with the production and delivery of its two new crossovers - the Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX.

According to Ford, about 10 percent of Ford dealers still have not received their first batch of Ford Edge units. The company added that all of them will receive their initial allotment by the end of this month. Smaller Lincoln dealers will have to wait longer for their Lincoln MKX orders though. This is because the company intends to build up inventories at high-volume dealers in major metropolitan areas first.

Sources familiar to the delay issues said that the automaker discovered a minor quality issue with the ball bearings in the rear axle that prompted a last-minute redesign. As a result, some of those who had pre-ordered the ford Edge did not get it on the scheduled time.

"It's never easy to launch anything in the middle of winter, but we've been working real hard to get units out with the right quality," Ford spokesman Jim Cain said. "We've got a lot of problems that are good ones to have."

But dealers still waiting for the new crossovers felt the other way around. Randy Fuller, the owner of Pinetop Motors in Lakeside, Ariz., did not receive his first Edge until three weeks ago and has been unable to get additional models notwithstanding having customers waiting for them. All of those purchasers want the 18-inch rims, and that automaker has yet to fill those orders. But Fuller said such delays are not unusual in any launch. "It usually takes about six months to catch up," he said.

Despite the delay, the Ford Edge still yields increasing demand. Bob Jamison, the owner of James Ford in rural Half Moon Bay, Calif., normally sells mostly pickups and vans. He has already received two Ford Edge units and has sold both of them already. "It's the best vehicle Ford has had in awhile," Jamison said. "We're extremely happy with them and look forward to getting some more and selling them."

Nonetheless, a number of dealings are lamenting foul. "Someone ends up waiting, and it's usually the little guy," said Michell Van Vorst, the executive director of the Ford Dealers Alliance, a trade group representing Ford dealers. She said dealers have complained to her organization about the delays, adding that lawyers are reviewing Ford's allocation policy.

The Ford Edge which debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show is a vehicle that bridges the gap between minivans and truck-based sport utility vehicles. The crossover is designed to rival the Chevrolet Equinox and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Ford is also in the process of enforcing its turnaround plan to alleviate its standing in the industry. Ford brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo are also modified to boost the restructure plan. As a fact auto parts like , Jaguar heating and cooling system, Land Rover engines and other car systems are now aimed at refinement for improved quality.



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