Think the current shortage of computer chips makes it impossible to get a brand new car in a reasonable time frame? Not exactly, but you may have to make a few sacrifices.
In order to help get much-needed inventory to dealers, Ford has started selling its popular Explorer SUV with a few tweaks: They won't have the controls for rear-seat air conditioning and heat. While those can both be adjusted from the front seat, back-seat passengers will just have to hope their requests are heard (and followed). The good news? Ford will install the rear-seat climate controls once chips become available, at no cost to owners.
Similarly, truck buyers had to make a tough choice earlier this year with the best-selling Ford F-150. Buyers could either give up a fuel-saving start-stop feature for a $50 credit, or wait for trucks with the feature installed to become available. This time, there was no option to install it later. Given how high gas prices are right now, some new F-150 owners may have a few regrets.
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Ford isn't the only automaker that has been experimenting with shipping "incomplete" cars. GM has also shipped vehicles without certain parking sensors or fuel-saving technology, according to Consumer Reports, while BMWs and Audis might be missing features like wireless device charging. A BMW that Consumer Reports received for testing even came without satellite radio.
While buyers may be disappointed not to get all the features they want, it could help ease the inventory shortages that have been driving up the cost of new cars. Automakers including Ford have been pleading with dealers not to jack up their prices to take advantage of shortages, with some even threatening to withhold new models.