As if Ford didn’t have enough headaches in terms of pickup truck supply, the derailment of a train carrying a load of the things has thrown the automaker even further off track. According to local media, a freight train ran into trouble while hauling the things through Missouri, creating a stack of metal that Blue Oval suits certainly could do without seeing right now.
Here’s the good news: no injuries or environmental damage was reported, save for the new pair of pants that was surely required for the train’s operator.
The midday incident occurred earlier this week when nearly four dozen train cars jumped the tracks and caused quite the mess about 100 miles from St. Louis. Aerial photos from the scene show automotive carriers piled up as if a child has suddenly abandoned their playtime in a huff, with metal and debris scattered across the countryside. Close examination of the pics shows F-150 trucks in various states of undress, some hanging out of the now-open carriers like a dog’s tongue on a hot day.
Train derailment Norfolk Southern
Huntington, Ralls County, Missouri 8/2/21
— Michael Barthel (@RealMiBaWi) August 2, 2021
Also among the wreckage were some Transit cargo vans, though it is surely the loss of F-Series pickup trucks that will keep Ford officials up at night given the nation’s inventory shortages of their cash cow. The company has an assembly plant in Claycomo, more commonly known as the Kansas City Assembly Plant; it is likely the vehicles were being transported from that location.
The train company, Norfolk Southern, is apparently investigating the cause of this derailment which caused a stoppage of train traffic for more than 24 hours. These types of wrecks can be tricky to scrutinize, given the sheer amount of material present over a wide area. In the moment, however, the mess was cleaned up by a recovery crew and repairs were made to the track. Missouri State Highway Patrol is reported to have not immediately found a cause for the derailment.
Ford has been taking it on the chin in terms of supply when it comes to its best-seller, with the ongoing microchip and semiconductor shortage wreaking havoc in assembly plants across the country. Year-to-date recorded sales are down 5.5 percent for F-Series, totaling just over 414,000 units. Last month alone, deliveries dove by 26.6 percent compared to July 2020 to 52,314. Those numbers are surely causing gnashing of teeth in certain corner offices of the Glass House, though it must be noted that if the bottleneck is addressed in the second half of this year, we’ll certainly be seeing boasts of ‘best month ever’ as a result of pent up demand.
The entire Ford brand is about flat for this year, down 0.7% to just over a million units.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.