March 21, 2013 / 4:55 PM / 5 years ago

Ford exec sees normal inventory levels for MKZ by April

DETROIT, March 21 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said inventory levels of its Lincoln MKZ sedan will be “normal” by April after the company put in place a second round of quality checks to ensure the vehicles were up to snuff, a top executive said on Thursday.

The 2013 MKZ mid-size sedan is the first of Lincoln’s revamped lineup that is designed to attract younger, more affluent buyers and shake off its musty image. Ford also rechristened the brand the Lincoln Motor Co as part of its latest attempt to revive the upscale brand.

“As we were ramping up, the expectations on the quality of this vehicle, on the relaunch of the Lincoln Motor Co are the highest that I’ve been a part of,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s head of North and South America.

“We wanted to hold ourselves to that and it took a while to get our processes in line with our expectations of the vehicles,” Hinrichs told reporters on the sidelines of an event with Ford suppliers.

Dealers had expected to get the MKZ by the end of 2012, but shipments were delayed due to parts shortages and concerns about the quality of the cars made in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The automaker then dispatched quality inspectors to its Flat Rock, Michigan plant to examine those vehicles. The Hermosillo factory also makes the Fusion mid-size sedan.

Ford will be “close to being finished” poring over all the cars at Flat Rock next month, Hinrichs said. The company stopped shipping vehicles for inspection from Mexico to Flat Rock earlier this month.

Ford now is shipping more than a 100 MKZ sedans a day to dealers, Hinrichs added.

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