Ford Motor Co. announced December 4 that its rollout of the 2021 Ford Bronco SUV will be delayed from spring to summer 2021.
According to the company, the delayed launch is yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Ford says has rattled its supply chains enough to cause the delay. The company declined to name what supplier specifically was impacted, but the Detroit Free Press reported that the delay may have been related to the truck’s removable roofs. While some of the roofs are manufactured in Wayne, Michigan, others are made overseas.
In addition to pushing back production, Ford’s decision will also mean that the off-road manual-transmission version of the Bronco SUV will have a 2022 model year instead of 2021: it was originally slated to enter production sometime later in 2021.
According to Ford, more than 150,000 people have placed $100 refundable reservations for the SUV since plans to revive the line were announced during the summer. The 2021 model will be the newest car on the Bronco line since 1996.
The delay is unlikely to cause any direct financial trouble for Ford, but the cause of the delay—supplier operations impacted by COVID—appears common across manufacturing industries. In the latest survey by the Institute for Supply Management, executives in the electronics, transportation equipment, food and beverage, machinery, and plastics and rubber industries all said that their suppliers were having trouble managing the pandemic. Two of those executives in the electronics and transportation equipment industries specifically cited suppliers with labor shortages as a cause for concern.
All three major U.S. automakers—Ford, General Motors Co., and Fiat-Chrysler NV—closed domestic production from March until May 2020 during the first waves of the coronavirus outbreak. All three have since resumed normal production levels with extra safety precautions in place.