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Recently, I've had a couple of projects among my four vehicles that have caused me to obtain pricing for a variety of parts across a broad cross-section of vehicle and part types ranging from the trivial to body panels. Two things I've noticed regardless of the vehicle or application, supplies are VERY low throughout the entire Ford supply chain and prices have become egregiously high.


As a shareholder, I think it's terrific - if only the general quality of dealer service and competence were consistently commensurate with the premium pricing. People are keeping their cars longer, so demand has never been higher, and parts can be a treasure trove business line that aren't subject to huge production overhead and don't have to be rebated at the end of the model year. And every cent of cash Ford doesn't have to carry on its books as inventory it can dedicate toward reinvestment or further accelerating its rate of debt retirement toward the goal of returning to investment grade status (there will be a happy dance in THIS household on that day - and we'll all be wearing new shoes).


As a customer, although I accept the nature of supply and demand pricing, it can sure force some tough decisions. It would be even easier to understand if there seemed to be a greater correlation between the materials or likely manufacturing cost. A case in point is that an entire lower bumper fascia for GT500 is $150.00. To replace a 9" section of SVTPP stripe tape costs almost as much. And THEN there's installation (for those who aren't as DIY-minded as others).


But what I find very problematic is the nature of parts shortages. I noticed it first when my I purchased one of the first Transit Connect Wagons and was rear-ended 3 days into ownership. What required little more than a dinged bumper and reverse sensor turned into a $5,000 insurance reimbursement - without any parts in existence in North America to complete the repairs, and no estimated time for their arrival. I ultimately used the $5,000 to trade-in the Wagon on a brand new Cargo version (after deftly keeping the Wagon's second-row seating bench and seatbelt assemblies for myself, thankyouverymuch).


What I had at first chalked-up to hiccups with Ford's first European import to North America seems to have propagated to vehicles like Flex, MKS and GT500. While some GT500 parts ARE trim-specific, the majority are shared with and by the other Mustang models and should, as one of Ford's most popular mass-market vehicles, be consistently available - if not downright abundant. What I first found satisfying as a shareholder I'm now finding troubling because - as a consumer - the very least I should be able to expect is a ready supply of anything I might require from the manufacturer that I'm willing to pay for to keep my vehicles as I want them.


I realize part price inflation is certainly nothing new, but has anybody else detected that prices seem to be rising particularly quickly, to unprecedented highs at the same time they've become generally less and less available?

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As a shareholder this would really bother me; a lack of parts will cause people to leave the brand or not buy in the first place. This will cause your stock to plummet, not go up.


Ford is probably not wanting to tie up a ton of capital in parts inventories, but this will bite them in the butt quickly if they don't rectify the problem.

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