Starting when? For how long? Here are the answers.
Up until now, Ford has done its best to navigate its way through the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage without causing harm to its most anticipated new SUV in years. The reborn Ford Bronco has already been delayed once supposedly due to other supplier-related issues, and the first batch of customer deliveries are due to get underway this summer. That remains on schedule.
What's changed is that the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, home to both the Bronco and Ranger midsize pickup truck, will be shuttered later this month, specifically for the weeks of May 17 and May 24. This two-week shutdown was not part of previously scheduled downtime for several other North American plants, which remains on schedule.
Those plants include the Chicago Assembly, Flat Rock, and Kansas City, home of the Explorer, Mustang, and F-150, respectively. The Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake will only build Super Duty Chassis cabs and Medium Duty trucks through the week of May 17 and will be completely shut down the following week. Kansas City also builds the upcoming E-Transit electric van. It'll operate just a single shift during the weeks of May 31 and June 7 to finish early builds.
Despite the Bronco plant's downtime, Ford wants it to be made very clear initial sales won't be impacted. It's a very good possibility Ford made the strategic decision to divert those crucial chips from other assembly plants to the Bronco factory specifically to keep pumping them out at a consistent pace in order to meet that summer deadline.
Less popular vehicles were sacrificed until more chips arrive. Conserving dwindling chip supplies is now the name of the game for all automakers, and it boils down to favoring more profitable vehicles like trucks and SUVs.
Even so, there are thousands of brand new F-150s sitting in massive parking lots outside of Detroit. They may look ready to hit the road from the outside, but they all lack chips that control systems such as navigation and Bluetooth. Hopefully, the Bronco plant's downtime will be limited to just two weeks and no more. Unfortunately, the chip crisis may not be over until early next year.