A few weeks ago, Ford very delicately announced that it was facing quality concerns with the Ford Bronco’s molded-in-color hardtops. The company said it would be replacing all Bronco hardtops, and that production of hardshell versions of the off-roader would pause until the problem had been resolved. We still don’t know when production will return to 100 percent, but a new story from the Detroit Free Press says current hardtop owners are close to getting their replacement roofs.
To give credit where it’s due, Ford does appear to be moving fast. Production of the new top is “ramping up,” and tops are expected to begin reaching dealers within the week, according to a statement that a representative from the company made to the Detroit Free Press.
Once the new roofs have arrived at dealers, Ford plans to contact affected customers to “make arrangements for replacement.” From the news outlet:
“We’ve started the roof replacements on the hardtop. We’ll be continuing to ramp that up to replace the roofs on vehicles currently being held needing the new roof,” [Ford Bronco marketing manager Mark] Grueber told the Free Press. “Shortly, we’ll be starting to send the new roofs out to dealers for those vehicles that have already been delivered. We expect to be shipping the roofs and the Broncos with the new roofs within the week.”
We’ve reached out to Ford to clarify how long customers can expect to wait once dealers get their hardtops in. We’ll update this story when we hear back.
The focus on swapping out defective hardtops has had the unfortunate consequence of delaying new production of two- and four-door Broncos. Ford stated in August that it will be producing fewer 2021 model year vehicles as a result, so some prospective owners who have made their reservations and are awaiting delivery will have to stick it out a bit longer.
In the meantime, those waiting on a four-door hardtop Bronco can switch to a soft top, which may expedite delivery. Ford will give those customers free hardtop prep kits so they can order accessory hardtops later, which the company expects to be stocked in 2023. The prep kit feature includes connections for the rear windshield wiper and defroster.
The roof debacle, coupled with the ongoing semiconductor shortage and other supply chain disruptions, has led to a bottleneck in Broncos passing final inspection. Once Ford became aware of the problem with the molded-in-color hardtops, it held many of those vehicles back to await replacements. Now, hopefully they’ll begin trickling to their rightful owners.