December 7, 2016 / 7:12 PM / 2 years ago

Ford releases for sale half of 10-speed F-150 stockpiled trucks

A Ford logo is pictured at a store of the automaker, in Mexico City, Mexico, April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

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.

“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

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