Bronco order saga: soft now and hard later

At the end of May, the Bronco news from Ford was that they had no idea when they will be able to produce my Bronco. Sucky situation, no doubt. Then, earlier this month Ford issued a huge press release that ’21 Bronco production is finally starting. Rejoice. But there are still some issues…

Hard top issue

Now, while the production is ongoing, a new letter has arrived to those who ordered a Bronco. There are no fancy pictures, no press release, just a letter, as seen above. To paraphrase:

…the ongoing challenges with our hardtop roof supplier continue to impact our plans. We now have to produce more soft tops than planned and we won’t be able to solely produce customer orders, as hoped. This also means a longer wait for those who ordered a molded in color hardtop.

Additionally, for the 2022 model, hardtop roof timing has taken another hit: our black, contrasting white, body color painted modular, and dual top roofs will now arrive in the 2023 model year. Until then, we can offer the carbonized gray molded in color hardtop as the only hardtop option for 2 and 4-door Broncos.

Like you, we’re frustrated by these delays.

So, here’s what we’re going to do:

Price Protection Extension thru 2023 model year – We’ll continue to offer price protection to all Bronco order and reservation holders (as of March 19, 2021) to ensure you will not see an increase in MSRP if you receive an equivalent 2023 model year Bronco.

Free Hardtop Prep Kit – Today we’re announcing that all 4-door soft tops, beginning with September production, will include a hardtop prep kit at no additional cost. The prep kit enables you to order a soft top now and purchase a hardtop later. We anticipate that hardtop roofs will be available for purchase in the 2023 calendar year.

This is interesting. I have put a hard top on a soft top model JK Wrangler and it was a pain in the ass. Not the hard top install itself. Rather, it was the fact that there was no electrical (rear wiper and defogger) or mechanical (rear sprayer) connection. Second thing was that there were no controls for the rear wiper and the defogger. Those required HVAC controller swap and reprogramming. Those were all the pain.

Vehicles the come from the factory with a hard top have all of these things installed. And that it what Ford is saying here – get your Bronco now(-ish) with a soft top now and buy a hard top in two years when it is available. And that is a fair thing to do. What they don’t promise is the price of the hard top. At the present time, Ford’s website states that the molded-in-black/gray hard top is $695 option. But that is in lieu of the soft top. The price of both tops is not specified on Ford’s site. Jeep charges more if you opt for dual tops vs. hard top with no soft top but Ford does not specify that. Ford no longer lists the prices for modular or painted hard tops.

Further, some time ago Ford promised to include additional sound deadening at no charge with all hard tops but that is not mention here. They don’t say if the molded-in-black (MIB) (or carbonized gray as they call it) top will be delayed, only the painted tops. So the letter is somewhat confusing and lacks details. I called their Bronco Support Team hotlines but gave up after 15 minutes on hold.

bronco soft top open listed rear

Soft top issue

I got to see the soft top Bronco in person at a recent dealer event and I really liked it. One thing I found interesting was the rear access with the soft top. Where the Wrangler has a roll-up rear window that is a complete pain to use, in the Ford the whole rear portion of the soft top raises. I requires flipping of two latches, lifting the thing up, and propping with a rod. This makes the access a lot faster and more pleasant. Like on the Jeep, the front portion can be opened up like a huge sunroof.

While I really want a proper hard top here in New England. However, the modern soft tops, both on the Wrangler and apparently on the Bronco, seem of high quality. Winter would cause to have the potential of plastic windows cracking, wind noise, reduced thermal protection, and no ability to mount a roof rack. I emailed my dealer but have not heard back yet. The soft top is not a deal breaker for me. I’m curious to see what happens to this order now.

bronco sport bought
Bronco Sport issue

I gained a family member over the weekend. My sister-in-law bought a Bronco Sport. The thing is actually really cool. It was a challenge to find one in the trim she wanted (Big Bend) and in the color she wanted (Area 51). Ultimately, she settled for blue as she needed a vehicle as soon as possible. Paid MSRP, as one has to these days, but got an interest free 36-month loan. Free(-ish) money, yo!

My Bronco order

My Bronco was scheduled to be build in the second month of production. With the production starting this month, it would make sense that my vehicle would be built in the second half of July. But having just talked to my salesman, he’s not so sure. He said the that first vehicles to be produced are demo models to be sent to dealerships. I’m not so sure about that. Regardless, he will be in touch with me as soon as Ford contacts him for production. Likewise, he wasn’t sure if the MIB/gray tops will be available or if I’d have to but soft top. I’ll get the soft top if it means getting it sooner.

East Coast Editor. Races crappy cars and has an unhealthy obsession with Eastern Bloc cars. Current fleet: 4Runner, Integra, Regal, Lada

2 Comments

  1. Seems like they must have been having withdrawal symptoms from the drip feed during the protracted development process?

  2. And I thought the F150 diesel was the most protracted introduction ever…Ford continues to top itself!

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