Ford is becoming the poster child for botched new-car rollouts and the Bronco launch is getting worse. Some of the delays were COVID-related and that’s understandable. But the issues with every Bronco ordered with a hardtop combined with microchip delays are frustrating buyers on waiting lists. Now, Ford has initiated a “satisfaction fund” to help dealers keep buyers at bay.
Ford’s Bronco satisfaction fund give dealers several options to perk up mad customers
The fund allows for up to $1,000 payments “in an attempt to assist dealerships while helping manage the wait for Bronco customers with confirmed orders.” Reservations started cramming Ford’s Bronco site when it was debuted a year ago. But it now is looking like it may be souring current and potentially new customers to the Ford brand.
From the Explorer to the F-150, new model launches at Ford have turned into a circus. And don’t forget; the all-new 2023 Mustang is scheduled to be launched in a year. By July of this year, Ford had 125,000 official Bronco orders. On that news, Ford warned that some orders couldn’t be filled until next year as 2023 models.
The Detroit Free Press first wrote about the hardtop issues also in July. Last month Ford announced it would replace all hardtops. That was soon followed by a stop in online reservations. This satisfaction offer came on the heels of that news.
The Bronco fund lasts until next June
Ford will keep the program open from now until the end of June 2022. That would indicate it doesn’t see the pipeline filling up until mid-2022 or maybe even later, which isn’t a good sign. Ford is offering its dealers friendly suggestions on how to use the $1,000.
- Provide payment assistance to an interim vehicle purchase/lease
- Help with rental vehicle coverage
- Cover their vehicle’s next scheduled maintenance
- Offer a discount toward a Ford Protect Extended Warranty or Maintenance Plan
- Buy a bottle of their favorite bourbon or spirit to thank them for their loyalty and patience.
We especially like the last one. Buy ‘em a bottle of booze, that will make things all better. Uh, we don’t think so.
Should Ford even be doing this?
It’s commendable that Ford senses the frustrations mounting for waiting customers. Enthusiasm is as high as it has ever been for the new Bronco. Ford has a solid winner. And production numbers for not just the Bronco but for most of its models are ramping up nicely.
So that’s the good news. Obviously, Ford has a big problem when it comes to pulling the trigger for new-model launches. The botched introductions are costly, and they cast a pall over how Ford does or doesn’t handle the business of selling vehicles. Which, in this case, is terrible.