Ford receives 125K Bronco orders, but some customers may be waiting longer than expected

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Some 125,000 customers have placed orders for Ford Motor Co.'s highly-anticipated Bronco SUV, the automaker reported Thursday — but some will be waiting longer than expected for their vehicle to arrive.

Ford reached out to customers and dealers Thursday to report that an issue sourcing certain roofs that are options on the Bronco will last longer than initially anticipated, meaning customers who ordered those roofs will have to wait until 2022 for their Bronco.

The more than 125,000 orders Ford has received for the Bronco represents about two-thirds of the approximately 190,000 reservations prospective customers in the U.S. and Canada made since reservations opened in July 2020. 

Comparison lineup of the three different tops available on Ford Motor Co.'s forthcoming full-size Bronco SUV. The Modular Painted Hardtop will be available in the 2022 model year.

"The demand ... has just been overwhelming," said Mark Grueber, Ford's consumer marketing manager. "We're very excited and pleased with the conversion rate and very humbled in terms of the demand that's out there. So, now we're just focused on trying to get these customers their Broncos as soon as possible."

Production of the full-size Bronco, which comes in two- and four-door variants, is slated to ramp up at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne in the coming weeks. Ford officials say the vehicle is on track to start arriving on dealer lots in June.

Now that Ford has completed the initial conversion of reservations, it has the specifications from each customer who placed an order. The automaker continues to take reservations, and encourages customers to visit its website to make one, since a reservation generates a time stamp that guides the order in which vehicles are made and delivered.

Ford reports that, from orders received so far, customers seem to prefer some of the higher-end options available on Bronco. About 70% of orders were for higher-price trim levels, said Grueber.

To support production of the orders it's received to date, Ford said it is increasing its investments with suppliers and coordinating closely with them to ensure the necessary parts are available.

As for the roof supply, Ford had previously said that orders for vehicles with either the painted modular roof or a dual-top roof would be delayed until late 2021 due to a supplier experiencing pandemic-related issues. Now Ford says those vehicles will not arrive until sometime in 2022.

To compensate customers for the longer wait, Ford is offering several perks depending on a customer's specific order. Customers facing the roof-related delay, for example, will be offered 200,000 Ford Pass reward points (which according to Ford equates to about $1,000 in value) that they can redeem on service work or to buy accessories for their vehicle. The company also announced a price protection program that guarantees customers their price will not increase if they have to wait until 2022.

"It's really just to thank them, because we know they all want to get that Bronco now and take it outdoors, but the wait is a little bit longer than we would like and we just want to thank them again for their loyalty and patience on this," said Grueber.

Because Bronco's launch was pushed from the spring to the summer, the automaker had previously said the 2021 model year would be abbreviated, with some Broncos arriving in 2022.

"The reason the wait is potentially until 2022 is because this first model year is a real short model year," said Grueber. "It's only seven months, and with 125,000 units, we're going to build all the orders, but some of them unfortunately are going to have to wait until 2022."

Ford does not yet know how many deliveries will be delayed until 2022. Michigan Assembly Plant will fulfill as many existing orders this year as possible, officials said. Customers will be notified no later than May on what their expected delivery window is.

Meanwhile, demand for the Bronco — an iconic vehicle that was in production for 30 years before being discontinued in 1996 — has been so strong that Ford is already looking at potentially expanding production, Grueber said: "We're actively evaluating just how to increase the total production for Bronco in Michigan Assembly Plant."

Ford previously said that customers who have to wait until 2022 can expect new roof options, exterior paint colors and other new features on the vehicle.

The automaker launched Bronco's smaller sibling, the Mexico-built Bronco Sport, at the end of last year.

The reintroduction of the Bronco is a key piece of an ongoing, significant refresh of Ford's vehicle lineup. The Blue Oval recently launched a redesigned version of its flagship F-150 pickup truck as well as its first battery-electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E. Meanwhile, electric versions of the F-150 and Transit commercial van are slated to roll out next year.

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewski