Battered by a global pandemic, plagued by supplier issues, and paralyzed by a massive parts shortage, it'd be easy to picture Ford executives jumping with joy due to the 2021 Bronco's extremely high demand—a ray of sunshine in the midst of troublesome darkness, you could say. Sadly, that's not the case, as the combination of production challenges and surging demand has forced the Blue Oval to pull the plug on the SUV's online reservation system.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford has officially paused the system because it simply can't build Broncos fast enough to meet demand. Up until now, that's been the best way for aspiring Bronco owners to reserve a build slot for an upcoming SUV, essentially bypassing car dealerships for the initial step in the purchase process. Now, Ford is reversing the process, asking customers to contact their local dealers to reserve a Bronco with a company spokesperson even telling the Detroit Free Press that "sometimes dealers have a better line of sight."
The news broke after the outlet received a copy of the memo sent to Ford dealerships, claiming that Ford is moving to a new reservation system effective last week. The memo also says that Bronco orders placed today will result in deliveries in 2022.
"Based on Dealer Council feedback, effective Monday, August 23rd, Ford has paused the creation of new reservations for Bronco vehicles," reads the memo shared by the Detroit Free Press. "The decision to pause reservations is due to the high number of Bronco 2 and 4-door model orders and current commodity constraints. Customers are encouraged to work directly with their dealer who can help with the ordering process, delivery timing expectations, and build specifications. For example, dealers can best guide if a customer may be able to get a stock vehicle that’s already built or scheduled. Due to the high number of orders, delivery of Bronco vehicles placed today will extend through (the) 2022 calendar year."
This outcome was imminent given the many issues Ford has faced in the production of its popular SUV. Earlier this month, it became obvious that the delivery of certain Bronco models was going to be delayed further—possibly until October or even longer—due to quality issues with the off-roader's molded plastic tops. Not only that, but every Bronco already built, sold, and delivered with this specific top needed to be replaced.
The outlet spoke with a Ford dealership's manager regarding the announcement, who wasn't exactly optimistic about how long orders may take to fulfill, further adding that this is a chance for Ford to get back on its feet.
"We don't want to overpromise and underdeliver with new orders so now we're going to pause with online ordering and get everything tightened up on the Ford side so we can come back and start taking orders again," said Steve Gabbara, general manager of Szott Ford in Holly, Michigan to the Detroit Free Press.
"All the '21 model year Broncos are sold out. All online reservations were '22 model year and beyond. They could even be '23," he added. "As of now, the only way you can guarantee a Bronco was through the online reservation system. 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."
We previously told you how to spec your Ford Bronco if you wanted it delivered ASAP, but now it seems that regardless of the combination—soft top, hard top, two-door, four-door—it's going to be a while. If you want one bad enough, you could always pay a ridiculous markup and bring one home relatively soon.
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