If you had to pick a Beatles song to describe the Ford Bronco's return to showrooms, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than "The Long and Winding Road." After all, when Ford first announced that it would be resurrecting the nameplate, Barack Obama was still in the Oval Office; two presidents later, and we're still waiting for the boxy off-roader to reach dealerships.
But while the Bronco delays have been caused by myriad reasons over the last half-decade, one of the most recent roadblocks seems to have a very specific — and a bit unexpected — cause. It seems the all-new Ford Bronco is being held up by its hardtop.
It's been public knowledge for months now that Ford has been struggling with the lids of its Broncos; Automotive News was reporting all the way back in December 2020 that hardtop supplier Webasto has been struggling with COVID-19-related production issues. But while Ford had previously claimed that the share of those 200,000-plus reservation holders who prefer their Broncos with a solid top would receive news of their SUV's build dates by May, some future owners are now learning that they may be waiting longer than expected. Indeed, it could be a while before they even know when they'll know when their new rig arrives.
As Motor Trend reported at the end of May, Ford is reportedly sending emails to some Bronco reservation holders informing them that the Blue Oval "unfortunately can't provide you with a definitive delivery window" for their new off-roader, due to a lack of adequate hardtop production capacity. (In an apparent burst of candor, the email from Ford reportedly describes the hardtop as "our Achilles heel in this launch.")
Ford is reportedly offering future owners affected by the delay a few perks to try and smooth things over. According to Motor Trend, the carmaker is giving affected order holders free access to the Bronco Off-Roadeo off-road experience; this apparently comes on top of the free hardtop headliner (normally a $450 option) and other rewards perks the carmaker previously announced for those unfortunate folks who have likely come to feel panic instead of joy every time they receive a new email from Ford.
Ford does allegedly report that they'll provide updates on the builds as they become available, but for now, it seems many Bronco buyers who've ordered either the modular painted hardtop or the dual top option will have to hang on a bit longer before finally bringing their dream rides home. Perhaps it's Tom Petty, not the Beatles, whose lyrics best describe their plight; after all, the waiting is the hardest part.