Ford Motor Co. is pushing back the introduction of its all-new Edge and Lincoln MKX cross/utility vehicles by about two weeks.

The ’07 CUVs, originally planned to arrive in dealerships this month, now are expected in showrooms in December, a Ford spokeswoman tells Ward’s.

The delay, she says, is to ensure the assembly process is performed correctly at the auto maker’s Oakville, Ont., Canada, plant, where the two vehicles are being built.

“We are waiting a couple of weeks in order to get processes at the plant in place to deliver the quality we think we need,” the spokeswoman says,” noting Ford benchmarked the Ford Fusion midsize sedan at launch as the level of quality it wants to maintain with the Edge (and MKX).

“The body shop is all new; the paint shop just reopened after being shut down for a couple of years; it’s a new vehicle and a new supply chain, as well,” she says. “It’s also a new line at the plant, so it’s like starting from scratch.”

While things are going very well, she adds, “We want it to be better than very well. We’re not getting into specific details about what we mean.”

Several thousand Edge models already have been produced, the spokeswoman says, and “will be shipped after being checked for quality levels. Instead of trickling in, they’ll get (to dealers) in bulk.”

Ford informed its dealers of the delay on Wednesday and overall reaction has been positive, she says. “Dealers actually are very supportive because they agree quality is more important (than a 2-week delay).”

The delay “won’t affect customers much,” she adds, “but having a high-quality vehicle will.”

bpope@wardsauto.com