Don Sadler is sad because his $92,495 Lincoln Navigator is stuck in Kentucky.
“They won’t give me my toy,” said Sadler, 62, of Miami.
“It’s kind of like I picked out my Christmas present, made my deposit, and Christmas came and went. It’s so frustrating to really want something and wait six weeks, then eight weeks, then 10 weeks.”
His paperwork shows that the 2018 Navigator Reserve L was ordered Jan. 19, built the week of Feb. 19, and “awaiting shipment” at 7:37 a.m. March 13. Delivery was scheduled for the week of April 2.
He tweeted Mark Truby, vice president of communications at the Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford.
Then Sadler tweeted his distress publicly.
“Lincoln Concierge tells me they can’t find a railcar to ship it,” Sadler said.
On a recent Wednesday, the Lincoln dealership called to say it had arranged to have somebody go to the rail yard to see if his truck can be put on the train the next day. “Then I should have it in two weeks.”
Sadler said he has always been a car guy, but this situation is different.
“There are only two cars in my entire life I’ve ever been excited about: my 1993 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi and this Navigator,” Sadler said. “It’s just a beautiful automobile. And those seats? It has, like, 30 positions. We do lots of long-distance traveling.”
After confirming that Lincoln is working to resolve the delay, he headed home to his husband and their 1998 Ford F-150 pickup, 2009 BMW 335i, 2006 Cadillac STS, and 2015 Ford Expedition Limited L.
Alas, no Navigator.
“At this particular point, I realize they probably can’t do anything other than try to get it here as soon as possible,” said Sadler, an AT&T public affairs director who oversees Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I’ve reconciled myself to just wait, which I think is a terrible thing for a customer to have to do. But they’ve given me no choice. When I do get it, I’ll be happy. That’s the bittersweetness of it all.”
The 2018 Navigator and Ford Expedition began selling as quickly as Ford could make them at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, prompting the company to ramp up production 25 percent in February.
For now, Sadler just obsesses over a detailed receipt for the vehicle with an ebony russet interior, premium leather, 20 speakers with subwoofers, and the technology, cargo, and towing packages.
Lincoln spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said: “We continue to see strong retail demand for Lincoln Navigator. While there have been some slight delays due to a national railcar shortage, we’re working to get our vehicles into the hands of customers and dealers as fast as possible.”
In February, Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations at Ford, said factory workers were putting in overtime and weekend hours to meet unexpectedly high production demand for the Navigator. More recently, Lincoln dealers have said the supply of the enormous luxury sport-utility vehicle is rationed until orders can be filled.
Trade publications have been reporting about railcar delays in the U.S. and Canada, which have stranded oil and grain shipments and financially devastated farmers. Bloomberg reported in February that railways haven’t been able to deliver enough cars in Canada after a harsh winter and a boom in energy production spiked demand.
In 2015, Bloomberg reported that railroad companies struggled to keep up with U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs, frustrating Ford and Toyota and prompting Warren Buffett to boost investments at his rail unit, Burlington Northern Santa Fe.