DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co <F.N> by Wednesday had released for sale more than half of the 15,000 F-150 pickup trucks with 10-speed transmissions that were held to ensure quality, a company spokeswoman said.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that shipment of some of the 2017 models of the F-150 were being delayed to keep from having quality issues during the first application of a 10-speed transmission.
In an interview with Reuters earlier this week, Joe Hinrichs, head of Ford in the Americas, said holding the trucks was the prudent thing to do.
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"In the normal course of business, when we have a new product launch – this is a new product launch for that transmission – we wanted to be extra sure, to do extra testing,” Hinrichs said.
Ford designed the 10-speed transmission jointly with Detroit rival General Motors Co <GM.N>.
The 2017 model F-150s equipped with a 3.5-liter, six-cylinder engine and the 10-speed automatic gearbox get a one-mile-per-gallon improvement in fuel economy over comparable 2016 models with six-speed transmissions, according to federal fuel economy data.
The delayed shipments of 2017 model year F-150 trucks occurred as rival General Motors Co <GM.N> is aggressively trying to cut into Ford's lead in U.S. pickup sales.
This year will be the 40th straight year that the F-Series pickup trucks from Ford are the best-selling truck in the United States and the 35th consecutive year of it being the top-selling model of any kind.
Hinrichs said the delayed shipments will not affect the company's fourth-quarter profit picture because they will all be shipped by year's end.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Joseph White; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)