Ford's Bronco hard-top fix is admirable and buyers will probably still be livid

Ford is responding to complaints about the 2021 Bronco's hardtop, announcing it will be replacing every one – whether delivered or otherwise – though the news may mean an even longer wait for orders of the hotly-anticipated SUV. Issues with the hard top began earlier in the year, with Ford admitted that production capacity simply didn't match up to demand.

"As part of our extensive pre-delivery quality inspections, we discovered molded in color hardtop roofs for 2-door and 4-door Broncos made by our supplier partner, Webasto, did not meet our standards," Ford told SlashGear in a statement.

As a result, some of those who had ordered their 2021 Bronco with the body-color hard top were told their SUVs would be pushed back, into 2022. All the same, 2021 Bronco First Edition buyers were getting their cars, complete with the hard top fitted.

Now, though, they'll be getting a replacement. Ford is claiming cosmetic issues have forced its hand, and that the best route to fix it will be supplying a whole new molded-in-color hardtop. The problem is down to appearances not functionality, the automaker insists – there can be an "unsatisfactory appearance when exposed to extreme water and humidity" apparently – and has no impact on the roof's usefulness or indeed how safe it is. All the same, everyone, whether they've been unhappy with their roof or not, will be getting a new version.

Those who already took delivery of the SUV will be contacted in the coming weeks, according to Ford documents shared on the Bronco6G forums, with instructions on how the swap will be organized. The same goes for those buyers whose Bronco is already built and either waiting for delivery at a dealership, or on its way there. They'll also get notified when the swap is ready.

Ford says the first replacement hard top roofs should be ready for exchange in October 2021. It'll be prioritizing the oldest Bronco models first.

With production still a bottleneck, however, it's another blow to those still waiting for a build date on their Bronco. Ford won't be building those cars with the old roofs; instead, it'll be delaying them until the new parts are available. What that likely means is that production won't start until late this year.

At that point, Ford will be switching model year, and come December it'll be the 2022 Bronco that's leaving the production line. The exception will be of Bronco First Edition cars, which will still be MY21. Those who placed an order for a 2021 Bronco will have the price honored, assuming they don't modify anything with what new 2022 options that Ford introduces; that'll also count for model year 2023 Bronco too. However, customizing the order with any new model year options will be a possibility, with more details on the changes promised for later in the year. Those who ordered a 2021 Bronco will be priority customers for the 2022 cars.

The hard top isn't the only issue Ford has had with component supplies. The automaker says that Wildtrak trim, the Sasquatch package, the 2.7-liter engine, the Luxury package, the Trailer Tow package, and the Safari bar are also "constrained due to overall demand" and that means they "will result in longer wait times."

Those who have orders including those options could choose to change their Bronco configuration, Ford suggests, to remove the constrained items. That won't change their place in line, as long as they make the alterations before production starts. Opting for the soft-top Bronco is an option too, with Ford suggesting that it expects the standalone hard top to be available from 2023.

To apologize for the delays, Ford will be offering a variety of perks and freebies to Bronco order-holders left waiting longer than they were hoping to. That'll include up to $1,100 worth of FordPass Reward points, which can be used on Bronco accessories, and a no-change sound deadening kit for the molded-in color hardtops. Free hardtop prep kits will be included with all 4-door Bronco soft top orders, starting with September 2021 production, too.

Demand for the Bronco has been sky-high, exceeding even what Ford says it expected for the SUV. Rebooting the much-loved nameplate was always a risk – after all, Ford had observed first-hand how frustrated Mustang fans were when it applied that badge to its Mustang Mach-E electric crossover – but first reports on the new Bronco have been almost universally positive.

Bronco First Edition orders exceeded supply in less than a day, and Ford quietly increased the number of the SUVs it would build. Of particular interest is Bronco's appeal for drivers outside of the current Ford market, with the automaker saying that so far more than 70-percent of Bronco orders are coming from outside of existing Ford owners. July 2021 sales reached 3,277, likely limited more by production than anything else.