Boy oh boy, for a vehicle that seemed like it took forever just to get confirmation that it would be returning to the market, the Bronco enthusiasts have been asked to wait – a lot. Rumors of the return of the iconic Ford Bronco swirled for years. Then Ford finally confirmed the rumor.
And then we all waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, this summer, Ford “launched” the two-door Bronco, the four-door Bronco and the brand-new Bronco Sport. And I praised everything about the launch. Finally, the icon returned and all seemed good, even through a pandemic.
But after some issues with the reservation system for pre-orders that shut down the server and caused some people to miss out on getting their first edition Bronco locked in, Ford fixed the server and it seemed like the iconic off-road vehicle was back on track.
But late Friday afternoon (kind of a covert and sneaky but calculated time to release the information) with just days until the order bank was supposed to happen, Ford announced a one month delay in reservations and a six-week delay (or longer) in deliveries.
I will both praise Ford and criticize them in the handling. First, I praise them for wanting to make sure this is done right and not rushed (ahem, Ford Ranger launch or the dreadful Ford Explorer launch). But I am critical of the timing.
If what Ford says is true that the delay is due to Covid-19 supply chain and production issues, they surely knew this was going to be a problem. Why not just delay the launch a little further, or at least be more upfront with customers about the likely delay.
Instead Ford covertly notified Ford dealers with the delay around 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Not cool Ford. I implore Ford, in general, to do a better job of the communicating not just with us the members of the media but with the general public.
Often dealing with Ford has been prickly, and trying to get information or trying to get them to confirm information, like this delay, is beyond challenging. Delays happen, and nobody would fault Ford for making sure that everything goes right with the Bronco launch. It is an icon vehicle for them and they will sell a lot of them.
But realize and respect that the Ford Bronco enthusiasts have been incredibly patient waiting for this new iteration of their beloved Bronco. Further delays or further sneakiness could alienate the customers and potential customers who have stood by and patiently waited.
Ford would be wise to be more forthright and stay ahead of any further issues that may arise with the production process of the 2021 Bronco. Now let’s look at the timeline for Bronco heading into 2021.
When Will The Ford Bronco Be Available?
The order bank for the two-door and four-door Bronco shifts from December 7 to around January 7, give or take a day. Those orders will then convert to sales from mid-January through March and production of those begins late spring.
Customer deliveries of the two-door and four-door Bronco will arrive on dealership lots in the summer of 2021 (when summer is remains to be seen, but we can assume it is around the June-July timeframe).
What About The Sasquatch Package With The Manual Transmission?
After Bronco enthusiasts petitioned and subsequentially got their way and had their voices heard regarding adding the manual transmission to the popular Sasquatch package, now some bad news comes to those same people.
As part of this latest delay, production of the manual transmission Bronco models with the Sasquatch package has been delayed significantly and pushed delivery of those off until the 2022 model year.
This is a real gut punch to those who felt emboldened that Ford had heard their complaints. They did get the manual, but now they have to wait a much longer time. My guess is many will abandon the manual transmission option to get their Bronco quicker. But there are certainly the manual transmission purists who won’t relent and just have no choice but to be patient.
Black Interior Available For First Edition Bronco
Not all the news from Ford was bad as the Blue Oval also announced the addition of a second interior color to the First Edition Bronco.
Those who had reserved their First Edition Bronco voiced concern that the only interior color option was Navy Pier. Many felt the blue interior didn’t mesh well with some of the great exterior colors Ford was offering.
Now Ford said that there will be a black interior option on the First Edition Bronco. That should make those who reserved their Bronco much happier. To be honest, a black interior should always be on the table, but kudos to Ford for listening, once again, to their customers wants and needs.
FordPass Rewards Customer Appreciation Program For Bronco
As part of the information Ford sent out late Friday, they also threw a bone to the Bronco enthusiasts to placate them somewhat for the inconvenience.
Ford’s statement read:
“To thank our Bronco reservation holders for their patience, we have created a customer appreciation program which will provide FordPass Rewards points for use toward the purchase of Bronco accessories. A customer communication with these timing changes and details about the FordPass Rewards offer will be forthcoming, however we wanted to ensure you were aware of these changes first.”
This is a good PR move by Ford as certainly the accessories aftermarket for the Bronco will be huge. And having the ability to order some accessories officially through Ford, and therefore the dealers will be a nice option.
Bronco Delivery Delayed Into 2022
In Ford’s statement, one such FAQ stuck out to me that was especially troublesome.
The FAQ read: What happens if customer orders are not built in 21MY?
Ford’s response said: Due to the high number of Bronc 2- and 4-door reservation, deliveries may extend into the 2022 calendar year. We anticipate some customers will receive a 22MY Bronco. In this scenario, customers will work with their dealer to replace their 21MY order but will have access to any product improvements for 22MY. Their reservation timestamp will remain with their order.
Yikes. I had heard rumblings of some production delays and one rumor I could not confirmation on was that the Bronco was delayed until 2022. That’s proving to be true in some form. More patience will be needed for the Bronco fans out there.
That really is the word when it comes to Bronco – patience. Ford managed to get the Bronco Sport out, and while many enthusiasts are lukewarm at best about the Baby Bronco, having a new product in a new segment for Ford will pay dividends. But what about all of those enthusiasts who have waited patiently for years, almost a decade now, for a two-door or four-door version of the Bronco?
Will they remain patient? Will they jump to Jeep. Or will they maybe order something else, like the 2021 F-150? Hard to say. While I praise Ford for not rushing the process and making sure it’s done right, I would also caution them to not have any more delays as that might be the final straw with a fanatical, passionate group whose patience is wearing quite thin.
As always, let’s hear your thoughts. Where are you at this point with the Bronco? Are you willing to be patient or have you had enough? Leave a comment below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.