DETROIT (Nov. 12, 2010) — Used Windstar minivans are stacking up on some Ford Motor Co. auto dealerships' lots as dealers await parts to repair the vehicles.
And as they do, Ford's costs for this recall are mounting as well.
Ford said new axles to replace any broken Windstar axles, on 1998 through 2003 models, will not arrive until early next year. Some other parts related to the axle problem arrive within two months, said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood.
There are about 575,000 Windstars that could have cracked or damaged axles. Most require small repairs that can be completed this year, Mr. Sherwood said.
Most of the Windstars affected are in the Rust Belt region, where winter road salt accelerated axle erosion, according to car dealers.
Windstars with cracked axles are unsafe to drive, so dealers have to store them while Ford reimburses dealers for the expense of renting Windstar customers a vehicle, Mr. Sherwood said.
He said he did not know how many Windstars are being stored by dealers.
Dealers estimate Ford is paying about $38 a day to provide rental vehicles to effected Windstar owners. That could amount to about $2,000 or more per customer by the time the parts are in, costing Ford millions.
“I have about 50 Windstars sitting on my lot,” said a dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Ford called me and asked me if I needed assistance with storage. I said no. I have them out back—hidden—because it's a sad looking gang.”
In rare cases, Ford will offer to buy back the vehicle at the top-end of the Kelley Blue Book value. It also offers a $2,500 incentive toward the purchase of a new Ford vehicle or $500 toward a used vehicle.
Ford's Mr. Sherwood declined to estimate the auto maker's cost for this recall, adding: “Our goal is to make sure we limit the inconvenience and all of our customers are satisfied.”
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.