Ford will reportedly soon begin shipping some Ford Explorers without the chips that control rear air conditioning and heating controls among other features not considered critical. The decision to ship vehicles missing chips is the latest development in the ongoing worldwide microchip shortage that is plaguing automakers and manufacturers of all types.

Automotive News reports that Ford plans to begin shipping some Ford Explorers without the chips that power rear air conditioning and heating controls as the worldwide microchip shortage continues to affect auto and tech industries. Ford plans to ship missing chips to dealers within one year which will be installed in customers’ vehicles after purchase.


employees working in a microchip factory

Employees working in a microchip factory. (KAZUHIRO NOGI /Getty)

Heating and air conditioning features will still be controllable from the front seats according to a Ford spokesperson, and customers who purchase one of the vehicles without the rear controls will receive the vehicle at a reduced price. Ford has stated that this move is only temporary and to get Explorers to customers faster.

The Verge reports that last year, Ford announced plans to ship undrivable, partially-finished vehicles to dealers but the new chipless Explorers will be fully driveable and ready for sale. Ford’s decision appears to come as an effort to empty its factory lots of partially-built vehicles.

It was reported last month that hundreds of brand new Ford Broncos were sitting in snow-covered lots near Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant awaiting chip installations. Ford has been dealing with the ongoing chip shortage worldwide as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to make the manufacturing issue even worse.

 Ukraine’s two largest suppliers of neon, an essential element in computer chip manufacturing, have halted operations as Russia’s invasion of the country continues. Around 50 percent of the world’s semiconductor grade neon comes from two Ukrainian companies, Ingas and Cryoin, according to figures from the market research firm Techcet.

Last year global consumption of neon for chip production reached around 540 metric tons, according to Techcet. Both neon suppliers have shut down their operations according to company representatives. The decision to stop production comes as Russian troops escalate attacks on cities throughout Ukraine.

The stoppage will likely add to the already growing shortage of computer chips worldwide. Estimates vary widely about the amount of neon stocks chipmakers have on hand, but according to Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA, chip production could take another hit if the conflict in Ukraine continues.

“If stockpiles are depleted by April and chipmakers don’t have orders locked up in other regions of the world, it likely means further constraints for the broader supply chain and inability to manufacture the end-product for many key customers,” Zino said.

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