Last week, we got the unfortunate news that the Ford Bronco is being delayed from a supplier issue, unsurprisingly a result of Coronavirus. Now, thanks to a report by The Detroit Free Press, we have some clarity as to which part is affected by the supplier, and it’s a rather important one: the roof. The report says an overseas supplier is facing delays as a result of COVID, and will likely not have either the hard top or soft top ready in time.
Another report by Automotive News narrows the roof issue down to Webasto, the German company responsible for manufacturing the roof. It’s unclear whether Webasto handles hard tops, soft tops, or both. But no roof means no Ford Bronco at the end of the day, especially when the two-door Bronco is only available with a hard top, and the four-door Bronco gets a soft top on most trims as standard. Having just one option unavailable would throw off the entire production plan, let alone both.
Still, considering the Bronco’s roof is removable, it’s actually one of the best possible parts to face a delay. The Detroit Free Press spoke with Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, who linked the delays to the roof. He said Ford is capable of building the Bronco without the roof installed, which could allow Ford to prep an early run of cars. They can be fully assembled with everything except for the roof, which wouldn’t be possible with a part like wheels or suspension. Plus, the supplier’s situation could improve come spring, and Ford could revert to the original production start date.
It seems that Ford is announcing this on an abundance of cation early on, leaving the door open to launch production as planned this spring if the roof supplier ends up delivering sooner than planned. It certainly looks better to delay production now rather than right next to the start date. Yes, it’s a bummer that the Ford Bronco has been delayed, but it’s not all that surprising given the world we live in today, and a couple months shouldn’t be too big of an issue for most preorder holders.