With demand for the 2022 Ford Bronco through the roof, the Blue Oval automaker has experienced a host of production problems that we break down here.
In what must be a maddening situation behind closed Blue Oval office doors, the 2022 Ford Bronco has become an ongoing production conundrum. The Detroit automaker has received a tidal wave of customer demand for one of their hottest vehicles of all time, which we review in depth here, but just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to putting that vehicle in customer driveways. The issues run the gamut from catch-all COVID-19 and supply-chain challenges to quality problems and even protests.
Out of the gate, Ford was experiencing production snarls with supplier Webasto, who provides the various roof components for the new Bronco. Going back to December 2020, Webasto had general coronavirus-related delays on their end that resulted in delayed delivery to Ford, who in turn was forced to shift their delivery timing of the first Broncos from spring of 2021 to that summer. Of course, Ford is not the only automaker that has experienced these type of timing issues caused by the pandemic. You can check out our list of exciting new 2022 cars and then do a quick search to see what has happened with their production.
Eventually, the Bronco roofs arrived at Ford plants for assembly but soon thereafter, quality issues with the hardtop versions were discovered as we discuss here. Though the roof functioned properly, heavy rain or humidity would cause defects in the appearance. This affected both Broncos that had yet to be built and that had already been delivered to customers. With this production problem, Ford had to trash every affected roof and start over.
Affecting virtually every automaker is the ongoing global shortage of semi-conductors that are so critical for today’s high-tech vehicles. In February of this year, production at eight Ford plants – including those building the new Bronco – was sidelined from full shutdowns to reduced shifts as a result. In another instance, the automaker resorted to storing assembled Broncos in an open lot near their Michigan Assembly Plant until they could install the required chips. Electric automaker Tesla has responded to similar issues by building their own, dedicated “Gigafactories” to supply critical components as we talk about here.
Though it only lasted for a couple days in February this year, when Canadian truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario to protest government Covid-19 mandates, they put a serious crimp on Ford’s ability to operate their Windsor factory. That bridge is one of the busiest border crossings in America with some 7,000 trucks traversing it daily and in the context of the overall Bronco production delays, it was one more unwelcome supply chain headache.
At the end of May this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin about an investigation they have begun into customer complaints on Bronco engine failures. NHTSA’s description of the problem they’re looking into reads, “Under normal driving conditions without warning the vehicle may experience a loss of motive power without restart due to catastrophic engine failure related to a faulty valve within 2.7 L Eco-Boost Engines.” This thread on the Bronco6G forum appears to be the driving force behind this issue, with 51 owners of the Bronco having claimed a failed 2.7L engine as of June 10, 2022. So far, no recall or Technical Service Bulletin has been issued by the automaker regarding this.
All of these issues add up to a constant game of catch-up by Ford as they work to satisfy the staggering demand for the 2022 Bronco. At one point, they noted 190,000 would-be owners had placed reservations for the truck, so there is a lot of work to do. However, Ford does not seem to be backing down as they press on with the Bronco Raptor and other new vehicles like the Bronco Sport, an SUV we review here.
Just spoke to several dealers today. I hear 8-12 months, 12-18 months, and 18-24 months before the Bronco will be available. None of the dealers can even place orders with the factory at this time.