It’s been a few weeks since deliveries of the first Ford Bronco began, and a few teething problems have surfaced. Owners who took delivery of the early SUV versions have reported issues with the removable hardtop roof, a major part of what made the Bronco, well, Bronco.
Now, according to Automotive News, Ford told customers they needed to replace the only hardtop it had shipped so far—after putting off all other hardtop variations. (The painted roof included in the double-roof package has been delayed until 2022; the soft top is unaffected.) Worse? Automotive News shared tidbits of letters Ford sent to customers, including this horrified section stating that the automaker “needs to replace all existing hardtop roof colors before we can make a new Broncos hardtop.” It definitely sounds like production will be delayed further.
So, What’s With That Boss?
It was widely reported earlier this year that the “Achilles heel” Bronco, from a production point of view, was hardtop manufacturer Webasto who couldn’t make enough units to keep up with demand. Some owners had their build dates pushed back, others weren’t given new ones — all of this, largely due to pandemic-related delays. Then, in mid-June, Ford announced that production of the Bronco had officially begun.
A number of owners who have taken delivery of their Broncos have started reporting quality-related issues with the hardtop on fan forums Bronco6G. Some have noticed that the headliner started peeling off the roof itself three weeks after taking delivery, and others have reported strands of fiberglass sticking out of the roof panels and poor finishing in other parts of the top. Keep in mind that there’s no option for a solid roof on this SUV, so these removable roof panels are the only way to go (unless you opt for a soft upholstered top).
It’s worth mentioning that the roof isn’t the only problem with the new Bronco. Some users provided a photo near the cargo area of the SUV showing the panel not properly seated above the wheel bays, protruding so far that you can see the body of the screw that should hold it in place. We contacted Ford regarding this matter and a company spokesperson sent us the following statement:
“We continue to build, inspect and ship two- and four-door Bronco models with colored hardtops. We are focused on providing our customers with the highest quality 4×4 vehicles. Customers should contact their dealership if they have any questions or concerns about their vehicle.”
This quality issue may be disappointing to some, but here’s the thing: It’s still early days for the Bronco production, and issues like this aren’t uncommon with new cars in general early on in their production. Of course, quality issues with a much-anticipated new vehicle like the Ford Bronco will be more widely reported than others. Ford is certainly aware of this problem as well, and the hope is that as the company tackles Bronco manufacturing, the quality of the roof and other parts of its new SUV will improve.
From Bad News To Bad News
That said, if you’re waiting for a first-year Bronco and aren’t a First Edition reservation holder, you also haven’t received a production schedule for your 4×4, Ford says you won’t be getting the 2021 model at all. Instead, you’ll be booted into the 2022 model year — though a Ford spokesperson shared on Twitter that the company will honor 2021 prices for customers affected by the switch throughout the 2023 model year. That the company honors year one prices through vintage 2023 not really comforting news for potential Bronco customers who don’t have a build date for their shiny new vehicle… and it’s even worse news for anyone thinking of hitting a Ford dealership in the near future hoping to go with the Bronco. new.
This story was originally published July 20, 2021, and has since been updated to reflect the spiraling hardtop situation and Ford’s insistence on replacing all existing hardtops.