Stockpile of Unfinished Ford Super Duty Pickups Missing Chips Is Now Visible from Space

Notice how new trucks are getting harder and harder to find? Well, here's why.

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It's no secret that the global chip shortage is wreaking havoc on automakers; even chip-hoarding Toyota is starting to feel the heat. Stellantis, Ford, GM—pretty much everybody is getting a taste of a major supply-chain shortcoming, and needless to say, it's bad for business.

But just because vehicles need chips to be delivered doesn't mean you have to stop making 'em altogether. Case-in-point, Ford is still making trucks; it's just making them without the necessary bits, holding them until the chips finally come in, and then shipping them out to dealers. Ford is doing this with what looks like thousands of vehicles, and you can see the results from space.

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION

The Drive obtained satellite images of Kentucky Speedway, posted above, which paint a pretty clear picture. There are thousands of trucks at the facility awaiting chips. You can see the progression, particularly in the righthand lots; the first photo in the set of three is dated April 18 of this year while the second is from April 26. The third and final shot is a more recent view captured on May 1.

There's not just one specific type of pickup being held here, either. There are Super Duty trucks in virtually every configuration just waiting to get sent out once they're completed. When it comes to which vehicles Ford decides to produce, clearly they don't really have the ability to discriminate anymore.

We contacted the Dearborn automaker to see what it had to say, and it tracks with what you've read so far. A spokesperson said that the company is "making the most of our available semiconductor allocation and will continue finding unique solutions around the world so we can provide as many high-demand vehicles as possible to our customers and dealers." The spokesperson continued to explain that the vehicles at the Kentucky Speedway would be held for "a number of weeks" before they could be completed and then shipped out from the facility, but not before quality checks were completed.

The Super Duties seen here are manufactured at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, roughly an hour away from the racetrack in Sparta.

In normal times, the track can accommodate as many as 107,000 people, which is why there's so much available parking in the first place. It's worth noting that Amazon is reportedly also storing a large number of empty trailers there—those obviously do not belong to Ford. The claim that the speedway is making a "million dollars a month" storing the vehicles and trailers could not be verified.

Of course, it's unclear when any of this is going to be resolved. The chip shortage is still a big issue for automakers and just another one of the pandemic-era problems that might stick around for a while. Until those problems are resolved, expect finding the perfect new car to remain difficult.

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