Skip to main content

After A Year Of Success, Ford Leads In A Dubious Category

Yes, it has been quite a year for Ford Motor Co. with its successful introduction and sale of new models like its electric truck the F-150 Lightning and its compact pickup, the Maverick. On the other hand, Ford set a rather dubious record for 2022 with the highest number of recalls for the year.
Posted: December 29, 2022 - 2:11PM
Author: Marc Stern


The Ford Motor Company has had some notable successes this year. First, there was the ongoing success of Ford’s special Mustang model, the Mustang Mach-E, the automaker’s first fully electric modern vehicle.

Electric Pickup Is A High Point

Next, there’s the ongoing success of the automaker’s F-150 Lightning. The Lightning is Ford’s first fully electric pickup. It has been eagerly sought by customers who have ponied up the required reservation fee – only $100. However, those waiting in the reservation banks eagerly await Ford’s turning the reservations into full orders. At last count, about 100,000 customers were waiting for their Lightning reservations to be turned into full orders. Indeed, Ford is anticipating these customers as it has just produced its 150,000th Lightning and is set to surpass 600,000 next year.

Then, there’s the E-Transit commercial van, the leading commercial van on the market, the third of Ford’s important all-electrics this year.

It is quite an accomplishment. However, there’s another accomplishment of which Ford may not be as proud. In 2022, the automaker took the crown as the carmaker with the most recalls out there, bar none. Indeed, Ford hasn’t recalled the most significant number of vehicles; that honor belongs to GM. But the sheer number of recalls is worth noting.

According to an article on today, “there are two metrics the U.S. Department of Transportation” looks closely at: “the number of recalls issued and the number of vehicles potentially affected.” InsiderHook noted that in 2021 “no single automaker took the top spot, as it was split” between Ford – with 53 recalls and 5.4 million vehicles potentially affected, and General Motors with “8 million vehicles, but just 44 recalls.”

NHTSA Data Image Not Good?

That picture changed for this year (2022) when “one car manufacturer took home the whole shebang.” Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows Ford issued a total of 67 recalls, affecting a considerable number of vehicles, more than 8.5 million. Among those recalls was the driveshaft issue that affected many Ford trucks.

As InsiderHook puts it:

“That’s 22 more recalls than the next highest brand (Volkswagen Group of America at 45) and almost five million more vehicles than the second place finisher in that regard (Tesla at 3,769,581).”

General Motors managed to turn things around for 2022 issuing just 32 recalls that affected about 3.3 million vehicles.

Ford Has Major Powertrain Problems

Looking the recalls over, the “most significant share of Ford’s recalls involved powertrain problems (12 out of 67), but as Ford Authority notes” the issues varied widely, from fuel injector problems in the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport to blower motor issues in the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator to wiper motor issues in the F-150.”

Ford, who hired a new executive director of quality from J.D. Power, Josh Halliburton, “is well aware of this problem,“ said the Ford Authority (FA). Halliburton was hired by the automaker because of his reputation as a quality turnaround specialist.

Hired in April to get “[quality] back on track,” Halliburton has noted that “fixing these problems takes time, and noted that Ford’s quality issues should begin to subside in 2023, while the automaker has recently placed a renewed focus on that particular as well.”

Interesting Turn Of Phrase

As InsiderHook notes, “should begin to subside” is not the most confidence-inducing phrase, so are there more details from the automaker on this front? Unfortunately, yes. And it won’t be music to Ford devotees’ ears.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley recently told a gathering of the Ford Retired Engineering Executives group that “Fixing quality is my No. 1 priority.” He was quoted by FA as saying it “is the most important initiative in the whole company. And it’s going to take several years. We didn’t lose it in just one or two years. Until we fix quality, nothing else matters.
InsiderHook concluded:

“Of course, that’s what you hope a CEO would say when faced with numbers like these, but we’ll be keeping an eye on recalls in 2023 to see if Ford can follow through with action. Until then, while the final numbers for 2022 haven’t been released yet, still expect to see the Ford F-Series top the list of best-selling consumer vehicles in the country nonetheless.”

Ford Motor Photo

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.