The Bronco Raptor Is Too Big For Ford's Production Line

Off-Road / 9 Comments

Ford didn't expect this to be an issue.

The four-door-only Ford Bronco Raptor has been one of the most highly anticipated new vehicles of the year. Set to arrive in US dealerships this summer, the feature-packed hardcore off-road SUV will carry a starting price of $69,995. Compared to the base four-door Bronco, the Bronco Raptor is 9.8 inches wider and thanks to upgraded axles, track width is up by 8.6 inches. Its 13.1-inch minimum ground clearance is almost five inches over that of the base version. Oh, and it has a set of 37-inch tires, the largest-ever tire package directly from an OEM factory.

Yes, the Bronco Raptor is a big beast, and that posed a problem for the assembly line at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit.

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Front View Driving
Aft View
Engine Bay

Per an interview with Automotive News, the 2022 Bronco Raptor was too big for the assembly line. It was way too late to alter any of the SUV's design aspects ahead of launch, so another solution was necessary. It really needs no explaining why Bronco Raptors coming through the line could not afford to get stuck.

"The easy-button answer would be to restrict travel, but the team didn't accept that so we found a fairly unique solution," said Derek Bier, Ford Performance's vehicle engineering manager. Production experts realized that adding two bolts on a bracket at the bottom of the axles allowed assembly line workers to use them to hold the axle higher.

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Front Suspension System

When the SUV clears the pinch point, workers simply have to remove the bolts in order to lower the bracket to get that additional inch. Ford was actually pretty lucky such a simple, cheap, and quick solution was found. It simply cannot afford to have this extreme SUV not ready in time.

The standard Bronco lineup is already facing a huge waiting list due to high demand and quality issues with the molded-in-color (MIC) hardtop. Many will have to wait upwards of a year to take delivery. The Bronco Raptor's higher price tag and more niche target audience should hopefully enable a consistent production flow. Making sure the assembly is prepared in advance is always a good first step.

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Interior Overview
Side View Driving
Source Credits: Automotive News

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