UPDATE 2-Ford halts Fiesta shipments on parts glitch

* Fiesta shipments halted in past week, have resumed

* Ford inspecting thousands of Fiestas built in last month

* Actions compound dealer shortage of key small car launch
(Adds quote from executive, background on Fiesta launch and
Ford forecasts, byline)

By Bernie Woodall

DEARBORN, Michigan, Aug 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Ford Motor Co (F.N: )
temporarily halted shipments of Fiestas from its Mexico factory
in the past week due to a faulty part, compounding an inventory
shortage for the new small car and further complicating a key
vehicle introduction.

Shipments of the Fiesta were halted because of a quality
issue with a single part that Ford has identified and fixed,
Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields said on Wednesday.

Fields said Ford has resumed shipping the Fiesta to U.S.
dealers and does not believe that any of the vehicles with
potential defects had been sold to consumers.

Fields declined to name the part at issue, but two people
with direct knowledge of the stop-shipment order said that it
was a seat lever.

“In our normal approach, which is to make sure that we have
really robust processes and normal quality operating procedure
at the plant, we did find a part quality issue,” Fields told
reporters. “We’ve addressed it.”

A spokesman said Ford is checking several thousand Fiestas
built over the past month before they will be released to
dealers for sale to customers.

The car represents the first test of Ford’s global vehicle
production strategy in its home market and the automaker’s push
back into a segment of the U.S. market long dominated by
Japanese automakers.

The Fiesta is targeted at younger consumers and has been
marketed through social media to reach drivers who had not been
looking at Ford vehicles. Ford also has been training dealers
accustomed to selling pickups and SUVs to sell the Fiesta.

“The reception by consumers has really been encouraging,”
Fields said of Fiesta U.S. sales so far.

Ford started North American production of the Fiesta in
mid-May and has reported U.S. sales totaling 4,400 through
July.

The unusual stop-shipment order is the latest difficulty
for the long-anticipated Fiesta launch. Earlier in the summer,
storms damaged railroad tracks north of the plant in Mexico
where the Fiesta is built, delaying shipments.

Last month, Ford apologized to consumers still waiting to
take delivery of Fiestas and offered them $50 gift cards, while
acknowledging that shipments were weeks behind schedule.

The stop-shipment order is the first acknowledgment by Ford
of a distribution issue on Fiesta not related to the storms.

Ford is working through the delayed shipments to dealers
“slowly but surely,” Fields said, adding that the bulk of the
delays have been caused by the storms.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall, editing by Gerald E. McCormick,
Gary Hill)

UPDATE 2-Ford halts Fiesta shipments on parts glitch