While 2021 Ford Bronco production has been less affected by the semiconductor chip shortage than most other models, it has been seriously hampered by another supply chain problem – hardtops. The Ford Bronco hardtop supplier – Webasto – has struggled mightily to produce the number of tops that Ford needs to fulfill customer orders, despite the fact that the automaker has invested millions to help fix the problem. Now, we’re learning more about the problems facing the Bronco hardtop supplier via a new report from the Detroit Free Press.
Webasto, a German company, built a brand new plant in Plymouth, Michigan back in 2019, a site that was specifically designed to support Bronco hardtop production. And it appears that another facility could be in the works to help catch up with demand as well. “We are working with Webasto to increase roof production, which could include a second facility in metro Detroit,” Ford spokesperson Said Deep told the Free Press.
Unfortunately, even that expansion won’t lead to meaningful hardtop production until 2022. In the meantime, Ford has trimmed down its available hardtop options available to customers to just one – the Carbonized Gray molded-in color (MIC) top, while delaying other options, including a painted hardtop, to the 2023 model year. The automaker hopes that this will help to right the proverbial ship more quickly than if it offered numerous choices.
Ford originally planned for an 80 percent take rate on hardtop-equipped Broncos, but hardtops are currently only making up around 60 percent of total production as Webasto simply can’t produce enough tops to satisfy customer demand. Ford recently informed order holders that switching to a soft top would make them eligible for September production, and it will include a hardtop prep kit with every soft top Bronco produced beginning that same month.
The reasons for Webasto’s struggles are somewhat complicated and multiple in nature. Part of the problem lies in the fact that much of the company’s tooling and testing equipment resides in Northern Italy and Wuhan, China, both places that were hit incredibly hard by COVID-19. On top of that, Webasto is struggling to find enough workers to make hardtops, which Ford is helping with as well, reportedly sending “many” hourly and salaried employees of its own to the top maker’s Michigan plant.
Meanwhile, Ford is admittedly frustrated by the problem, as are Bronco customers, but the automaker is working with Webasto to rectify the issue. “We’re working as fast as we can,” Deep said. “We want to make everybody happy.”
We’ll have more on Ford’s Bronco hardtop issues soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.
Someone else said this, and they were correct: Henry Ford would have built his own plant by now, so that Ford could make their own tops. It’s inconceivable that Ford has let Webasto run this much damage to their production, for so long.
When China was mentioned, well that pretty much explained part of the issue.
Like Jimi what is the deal on Ford contracting this out? Sound like another fiasco of their own making much like the chip issue!
Quite a few automakers had chip issues not just Ford.
Sure they did, but Ford not only had the most issues but bungled it terribly with the lack of transparency and communication with their dealers and customers. In this regard, I believe Ford was in a class by themselves.
Pandemic related supply chain issues aside, I don’t understand how so very few Bronco’s have been delivered. Ford missed Spring deadline and will shortly miss most deliveries by Summer. Very disappointed Bronco order holder.
Ford announced in 2017 that they are bringing back the Bronco. So what have the Dearborn deadwood been doing for the past 4 years? Cozy up to Wuhann, Webasto, but not with the USA contractors.
Again, we become dependent on other companies in others countries. Wake up Ford. Get an American company to solve the problem. I don’t want anything from China if I can help it. You could have built your own plant by now.
Once again, we can’t seem to make anything on our own in America. Use an American company or build a plant yourself.
I’ve been an order holder for over a year, waiting for the modular hard top !!
Ford really dropped the ball on this, all they need now is quality issues !!!
The Jeep Rubicon with a 392 Hemi is looking pretty good at this point !!!
If we had been putting away $100/month by the time our orders are ready we would have had a hefty down payment. 3 years. $100/ month and compounded interest should approach $5 grand
The hardtop shortage is a Ford problem for the initial market they were lending too, the off roaders. Strip it down, take off the doors, lose the top. Guess what, most buyer want a highway cruiser and for local daily driving, not off roaders. A soft top gets very noisy inside. I have a Camaro convertible 6th gen and it a blast to drive but hours of driving the noise, with the top up, can get tiring. More proof is go to the Ford website and do a Build and Price. Only the base model can you get highway tires, everything else is off road tires that are always noisy. Another problem for me is every single trim level but one is 100% black interior. The one that is not is a dark gray with black vinyl seat inserts. Other than my three little nick picks, it’s a nice vehicle, I would love to have one but black interior is terrible in the sunny states like Florida. Yes the Camaro is only dark ash, almost black but it is not my daily driver.
So if I switch my order to a MIC top do I still get the included in base price soft top? I believe picking the painted top I had a choice of dual top (which I chose) Why can’t they just leave my order as is and ship my hardtop in two years (ugh, if I do not go now for MIC then I have until sometime in 2023 before the 23-24 winter storms to keep the snow out. ) And if I simply get either available top now, am I still price protected to later add the one I want?
” Wuhan, China”
The media has been telling us for a year that there is no Covid anymore in China because they knocked it out.
Hello Staff, I have a old Rev. # 10295121 and still waiting for a hard top model can i order mine in blk. on the hard carbonized top, not gray. Because I need Roof Rails W- crossbars also, and if I order it this week 10/19/2021 Approx when will i rec. my 2022 Bronco .