“We closed free order availability for our dealers on the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta, among others, some time ago,” the spokesman said. “However, we are offering available production volume to our dealers in the form of pre-specified units based on customer demand.”

He added this is Ford’s way of ensuring that customer orders can be fulfilled, and that available production capacity can be used in the best possible way.

Markus Thal, the head of the works council in at Ford’s factory in Saarlouis, Germany, which builds the Focus, confirmed the unusual measure and said the orders currently being received would already run into 2023. He said it would not currently be possible to deliver a Focus before next spring.

According to employee representatives, Ford now expects annual production of only 117,000 Focus cars for the current year, down from 195,000 units originally planned.

For 2023, around 143,000 units are currently still planned, according to Thal.

However, it is uncertain whether this figure can be achieved, as production is heavily influenced by ongoing supply chain bottlenecks, especially for semiconductors.

An additional complicating factor is the situation on the energy market.

It is also uncertain how the workforce at the Saarlouis plant will react to the decision by Ford management to build new electric cars in Valencia, Spain, rather than in Saarlouis, adding to workers’ concerns about the plant’s future.