Who hurt you HeavyAssault?
As a lifelong aviation mechanic, and no doubt mechanics in general, I get irritated whenever someone uses their education to speak in absolutes.
Education is almost always trumped by experience. Also, he didn't mention what branch or field his education is in nor how long he has experience in putting his education to work.
There are WAY too many variables in this situation to say there is a design defect process going on here. There are lots of guys with well over a hundred thousand miles on their trucks who do hotshot hauling. None of them have posted something like this to my knowledge.
This could be early material failure, no doubt. However, is it a systemic problem? If it WERE systemic, we would see people posting pictures and complaints of cracks like these at various attachment and hold down points from all over the truck. More than likely, it's isolated and likely caused by either rough handling or the hood not being properly adjusted. If the latter, then the owner SHOULD have noticed excessive hood flutter and had the issue addressed.
Since the OP is an aerospace engineer, perhaps he has forgotten that sample size with recurring failures of the exact same nature are required before even forming a hypothesis that one would publish. Then, testing is required of a diverse sample batch straight off the assembly line under the suspected conditions and/or conditions observed from hoods that have been installed on trucks which would then be compared to a sample batch from trucks that have seen road duty of the nature, time and closely matching conditions as the single example pictured here to get to the point of saying "manufacturing defect". Having said that, no company in their right minds would initiate such a discovery process based on this one example.
I'm going to say that more than likely, this isn't a manufacturing defect but a failure of the end user to notice something isn't right with the way the hood flexes during use and thus, over time, as ANY metal would when subjected to flexing and vibration conditions such as what a hood goes through, saw these cracks form. So yes, the OP is going to have a battle on his hands if he thinks this will be fully repaired by Ford on Fords dime.
I am not willing to say it's only from an improperly adjusted hood. Since I don't know if the layers of the hood in this area are stamp welded, glued or some other forming process, I refuse to speculate on that aspect. I also don't know if the original owner ever drove down the highway with the hood latched, but not fully closed. As I mentioned, too many variables. That is my personal suspicion based on over 20 years of maintaining U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters under the worst conditions you can imagine.