2021 Ford Bronco
DETROIT – Ford Motor is delaying the launch of its upcoming Bronco SUV from spring to summer next year due to coronavirus-related issues in its supply chain, the company told dealers on Friday afternoon.
Customers who have reserved vehicles should start the ordering process on Monday. That has now been delayed until mid-January, Ford spokesman Jiyan Cadiz told CNBC.
"We are determined to build Broncos with the quality our customers expect and deserve," he said, declining to discuss specific supply chain issues.
Ford shares fell on the news but closed at $ 9.34 on Friday, up 1.4%. During off-hours trading, the stock fell less than 1%, with a market value of $ 36.5 billion.
The Bronco's postponement is a worrying sign for Ford – and possibly the U.S. auto industry, if supplier issues recur due to rising coronavirus cases. In the US, the 7-day average of new daily Covid cases is at its highest level since Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the spring, as the virus spread rapidly in North America, automakers had to delay several products by months, if not a year, due to supplier issues or to save capital. They also closed domestic factories for about two months.
The 2021 Bronco is one of Ford's most anticipated vehicles in years. The Bronco would add nearly $ 1 billion to Ford's pre-tax profits in North America if sales hit 125,000 units, according to Credit Suisse.
According to the company, more than 150,000 people have made reservations for the vehicle that the company had previously manufactured from 1965 to 1996.
As part of the delay, customers now have until March 19 to place their order and agree to a final price, Cadiz said. A highly anticipated "Sasquatch package" with manual transmission has also been postponed to model year 2022.
Supplier issues have not impacted the Bronco Sport, a vehicle that is currently arriving at dealerships and is part of Ford's new "Bronco Vehicle Family". Think of it as a cousin of the Bronco. The Bronco is based on a truck platform, while the smaller Bronco Sport is equipped with less powerful four-cylinder engines and is based on a car or crossover structure for a smoother ride.