Alas, the all-new Ford Bronco—undoubtedly the most anticipated model of 2020—won't hit the road this year at all. Plant shutdowns have delayed production for the revived off-roader, as well as the new Bronco Sport, F-150, and Mustang Mach-E. While the full-size Bronco won't hit showrooms until 2021, its trio of new Blue Oval stablemates are still due on dealer lots in the second half of 2020, reflecting a delay of about two months.
Ford plans to officially restart production on May 18, which has become an especially important date for each of Detroit's Big Three. The United Auto Workers union cleared Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors to resume manufacturing next Monday, and their respective focuses will turn to recovering what's been lost during the shutdown. Ford alone is expected to post a $5 billion operating loss this quarter, according to the Detroit News.
“We’re not going to do any additional delay to these launches beyond the impact of Covid-19 as a mechanism to conserve cash,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product development and purchasing, during a conference Friday. “Given our inability to work in the assembly plants during the shelter-in-place restrictions, it will have an impact to program timing, in terms of the launches. But we expect the launch delays to be commensurate with the duration of the shutdown period.”
In the meantime, Ford has been doing what it can to minimize the impact of these delays. Employees have turned up to manufacture respirators, masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in an impressive production effort while its counterparts at GM have been conducting similar operations, assembling ventilators to support the fight against COVID-19.
In other parts of the world where the pandemic has begun winding down, like China and Europe, Ford has already reopened manufacturing locations.
The Bronco represents a massive money-making opportunity for Ford, as does the next-gen F-150. Historically, trucks have been the automaker's largest cash cows, while it continues to bolster its expansive crossover lineup with the Bronco Sport. And finally, the Mustang Mach-E is Ford's first legitimate foray into the mass-market EV realm, so all four models are key to the company's future.
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