The Ford Bronco is shaping up to be a gigantic hit, but only if buyers can get their hands on one. The Detroit Free Press obtained an internal Ford memo to dealerships effective August 23rd. It says the automaker is momentarily pausing new online reservations for the Bronco SUV due to “current commodity restraints,” no less referring to the worldwide microchip shortage and specific production challenges involving the Bronco’s hardtop roof.
However, the memo did not say that Ford is ending the Bronco online reservation facility. Instead, the automaker “will communicate a plan to reopen reservations when available” and is advising potential buyers to work directly with dealerships in facilitating “the ordering process, delivery timing expectations, and build specifications.”
In return, dealerships should update their websites and advertisements to stop promoting Bronco reservations online. “Advertising and promotional material should be updated to encourage customers to talk to their dealer about placing an order,” said Ford in its memo.
The all-new Bronco SUV revives the famous nameplate that Ford discontinued about twenty years ago. Less than two weeks after its debut last July 2020, Ford got 150,000 pre-order reservations for the Bronco. This figure prompted Ford to explore the options of increasing its production to satisfy consumer demands. But by December 2020, production for the Bronco faced unexpected delays, no thanks to the chip shortage and relentless COVID-19 pandemic.
Ford is also dealing with quality control issues with its Bronco SUV. Ford is busy replacing the molded-in color hardtops from early production models. It plans to replace all existing roofs before commencing production on any new Bronco two-door or four-door hardtop. Ford claims the hardtops did not meet quality expectations, and the finish changed appearance after exposure to heat, rain, and humidity. In addition, the carmaker is addressing further issues with accelerated wear on Bronco soft-top models.
However, customers can still place an order for a Bronco even without setting a reservation. Furthermore, customers who placed a reservation before the pause can still convert and place an order, although you could face a long wait to drive your brand-new Bronco SUV. “All the 2021 model year Broncos are sold out,” said Steve Gabarra, general manager of Szott Ford in Holly. “This pause wasn’t designed to flip from online ordering to dealers, but instead it’s a pause for Ford to get on their feet.”