Ford Motor is delaying the release of its Bronco SUV in 2021 to the summer from the initial spring target because of the coronavirus-related issues with its suppliers, a company spokesperson said on Friday.
“Deliveries will begin the summer rather than the spring. That’s being driven by COVID-related challenges some of our suppliers are experiencing,” said Said Deep, Ford’s spokesman.
The suppliers, which Ford did not identify, have had development work for tooling postponed by the pandemic, Deep said. Asked whether the release could face further delays, Deep said the automaker was monitoring the outbreak closely.
The coronavirus crisis caused the U.S. auto industry to close plants two months earlier in the year, but since production resumed automakers have been largely successful in avoiding the spread of the virus in their plants.
Ford still expects to start building the Bronco at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan in the spring, Deep said. The automaker is already shipping the smaller Bronco Sport, which is built in Mexico.
Customers’ ability to place orders for the Bronco also has been postponed from December 7 to mid-January, Deep said.
Earlier on Friday, industry officials said a shortage of chips utilized in auto manufacturing could disrupt auto production in China well into next year. Deep said Ford’s issues were unrelated.