- Ford is delaying the launch of its upcoming Bronco SUV from spring to summer of next year due to coronavirus-related problems in its supply chain.
- Customer reservation orders for the vehicles were expected to begin Monday. They have now been delayed until mid-January.
- The 2021 Bronco is one of the most highly anticipated vehicles from Ford in years.
DETROIT – Ford Motor is delaying the launch of its upcoming Bronco SUV from spring to summer of next year due to coronavirus-related problems in its supply chain, the company told its dealers Friday afternoon.
Customers who had reserved vehicles were expected to begin the ordering process Monday. That has now been delayed until mid-January, Ford spokesman Jiyan Cadiz told CNBC.
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"We are committed to building Broncos with the quality our customers expect and deserve," he said, declining to discuss specific problems with its supply chain.
Ford shares fell on the news, but closed Friday at $9.34, up 1.4%. During after-hours trading, the stock, which has a market value of $36.5 billion, was down less than 1%.
The postponement of the Bronco is a troubling sign for Ford — and potentially the U.S. auto industry, if problems with suppliers re-emerge due to rising coronavirus cases. In the U.S., a seven-day average of new daily Covid cases stands at its highest level yet, as of Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
In the spring, as the virus rapidly spread across North America, automakers had to delay several products by months, if not a year, due to supplier problems or to conserve capital. They also shut down domestic factories for about two months.
The 2021 Bronco is one of the most highly anticipated vehicles from Ford in years. The Bronco would contribute nearly $1 billion to Ford's North American pretax earnings if sales reached 125,000 units, according to Credit Suisse.
The company has said more than 150,000 people have placed reservations for the vehicle, which the company previously produced from 1965 until 1996.
As part of the delay, customers will now have until March 19 to place their order and agree to a final price, Cadiz said. Also, a highly anticipated "Sasquatch package" with manual transmission has been pushed back to the 2022 model year.
Supplier problems have not impacted the Bronco Sport, a vehicle currently arriving in dealerships that's part of Ford's new "Bronco family" of vehicles. Consider it a cousin of the Bronco. The Bronco is based on a truck platform while the smaller Bronco Sport comes with less powerful four-cylinder engines and is based on a car or crossover structure for a smoother ride.