2021 Ford Bronco: Here’s how early buyers are speccing their SUVs – Roadshow

Bronco production plans are coming together piece by piece, and some interesting early customer ordering trends are shaping up.

Ford

Production of the 2021 Ford Bronco is on track for initial deliveries in June, and the Blue Oval is providing new details about how early customers are ordering their Broncos. To begin with, Ford says that of the over 190,000 North American reservations the company logged since the SUV’s reveal last July, dealers have turned 125,000 of those hand-raisers into firm vehicle orders so far. 

Considering those initial reservation-holders only parted with $100 refundable deposits to secure a place in line, the conversion rate of around two-thirds seems robust. “The demand has been extremely overwhelming and beyond our wildest expectations,” Mark Grueber, Ford’s US consumer marketing manager, told me in a phone call Thursday.

Now playing: Watch this: The 2021 Ford Bronco is armed and ready to go Jeep hunting


7:21

Power-hungry buyers

As it turns out, early customers aren’t being shy about splashing out for higher model trims and expensive options. Of those 125,000 initial orders, the Bronco’s costlier upper trim series — Badlands, Wildtrack, Outer Banks and First Edition — make up over 70% of early specifications. Furthermore, according to Grueber, “a little over 60% of orders” include Ford’s more powerful 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine (which requires a 10-speed automatic).

While most early Bronco-intenders are speccing out high-end versions, there is a considerable contingent of shoppers ordering more basic, hardcore off-road specifications of the 4×4, too. At present, a healthy 27% of all orders are for the two-door Bronco. More interestingly, some 18% of customers are opting for the seven-speed manual gearbox, a transmission that’s only available with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder. That’s a high manual-transmission order rate in an industry that typically sees three-pedal vehicle take rates in the low single-digit range. The Getrag MT88 DIY shifter features a dedicated crawler gear for enhanced low-speed off-road ability.

Sasquatch proving popular

As for the much-ballyhooed Sasquatch package, some 50% of early customers are ordering vehicles equipped with the 35-inch-tire package (including the Big Bend, Black Diamond and Badlands models, which all come standard with the option group). Also available as a standalone option, the $4,995 package includes locking front and rear axles, along with a special high-clearance suspension and matching flares that accommodate the beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels with gnarlier 315/70-series mud-terrain tires.

It’s worth noting that it’s customary in the auto industry for early orders of most new vehicles to be of disproportionately higher-end trims. It’s likewise commonplace for first-in buyers to initially over-index when it comes to buying more enthusiast-oriented trims and options. Early adopters are often some of the most fervent and best financed supporters of new vehicles, and the Bronco’s early order data follows that trend.

Production update amid top problems

All has not gone smoothly for the launch of the hotly anticipated new SUV, however. Among the issues Ford has faced in the ramp-up to production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Greater Detroit is an unnamed roof supplier whose manufacturing abilities have been affected by the pandemic. As a result, the automaker is unable to deliver the Bronco’s full range of promised top options, which were to include a modular gloss-painted hardtop, as well as a molded-in-color hardtop and a soft top. “They are continuing to experience challenges as a result of COVID in terms of their readiness,” says Grueber.

Grueber says Ford is working closely with its suppliers, noting the company is “investing millions of incremental dollars right now with our supply base to make sure we can build all the options and the equipment that customers want.” Despite these best efforts, the dual-top (hardtop and soft top) option that was originally promised during the reveal won’t be available until the 2022 model year. Customers impacted by this development include all First Edition reservation holders (the FE was originally to come standard with both lids) along with anyone who ordered the dual-top option. Ford previously lowered the MSRP of the First Edition to reflect the move to a single, molded-in-color top. In addition, on Thursday, the company announced that customers affected by this top issue will also receive a $1,000 FordPass Rewards credit that can be used to buy additional accessories.

Bronco customers with 2021 model-year reservation slots who initially ordered a modular hardtop or a soft top have until April 8 to update their order, or their vehicle may be delayed until the 2022 model year. Among those roof options is the eagerly anticipated glossy-white-painted modular top, which Ford says will be available for initial customers in Q1 of 2022.

Additional customer satisfaction credits

By way of apology, anyone who ordered a hardtop model will be offered a complementary sound-deadening headliner at no charge. Normally a $495 option, if the sound-deadener was already ordered by the customer, a matching $495 credit will be issued. Those customers who ordered the range-topping First Edition (which was already set to be equipped with the panels) will see their vehicle’s MSRP drop by $495 so they aren’t paying extra for equipment others are getting for free. Buyers who opted for the hose-out marine-gray vinyl seating option will be given the choice to spec the thicker headliner — Grueber says Ford anticipates that some of these harder-core customers may not want the option because it won’t be as easy to wash as the basic plastic-only panels.

Among other incentives to assuage anxious Bronco customers, Ford will be offering $250 credits to its new Off-Roadeo off-road driving schools. Buyers of select upper trims are already promised a complementary off-road driving school course, but this credit can be used to bring along a co-driver companion, to buy merchandise or to add on some of the school’s related experiences — mountain biking or UTV rides, for instance. For those order holders who won’t get to take delivery of their Bronco for some time due to vehicle availability, Ford will still make it possible for those with firm orders to attend the school and get the credit ahead of time.

Pricing protection

Since some customers may choose to roll their Bronco reservation over to 2022 to get some of these delayed-availability options and features, Grueber tells me that Ford will guarantee that existing reservation holders will not face any pricing hikes if they decide to wait until the next model year. 

(Note this doesn’t mean that Ford won’t increase 2022 model year pricing for other customers who do not already have a place in line.)

When to expect more news about your Bronco order

That’s a lot to make sense of, but know this: If you’ve ordered a Bronco and worked out the specs already with your dealer, Ford says you should expect a notification with an estimated delivery window for your vehicle by May.

Source

%d bloggers like this: