Ford Motor Co.’s popular new Bronco sport-utility vehicle has suffered a snag in its launch, with the automaker replacing all of the hardtop roofs it has built so far on the model. The automaker is delaying the production of new models to fix the problem.
In a letter to customers, Ford said it discovered a problem with the roofs that creates an “unsatisfactory appearance when exposed to extreme water and humidity.” The company said replacement roofs wouldn’t arrive until September and, in the meantime, is holding thousands of already-built Broncos in parking lots near its Michigan factory as they await repairs.
The snafu comes days after Ford told buyers of its new electric Mustang Mach-E that their deliveries would be delayed by six weeks due to the global shortage of semiconductors. Both models are key parts of a model line overhaul that has given Ford positive momentum, with shares rising 58% this year.
The molded hardtop roofs for 2-door and 4-door Broncos, which the Webasto AG supplier made, “did not meet our standards,” Said Deep, a Ford spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “The issue does not impact the functionality of the roof but can cause an unsatisfactory appearance.”
This is the second setback related to the Bronco’s roof, being built by Germany’s Webasto. Ford had to delay the launch of the Bronco from spring to summer because the supplier couldn’t get roof production up and running due to travel issues amid the pandemic.
Ford prioritized replacing the roofs on existing models of the Bronco, including those in holding lots and those already in buyers’ driveways. That means some 125,000+ orders for the SUV will be pushed to the 2022 model year. Production of those 2022 models won’t begin until December, Deep said.
The automaker continues to build 4-door models of the SUV with soft-top roofs, which are not affected by this quality problem. Deep said most buyers had chosen the hardtop roof.
To try to make it up to customers waiting longer for their new models, Ford is offering Mach-E buyers 250 kilowatts of charging for free. For Bronco buyers, it gives buyers posters of the SUV, off-road rides with professional drivers, and other gifts.
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