Ford Bronco, Maverick Leaked Photos Got Suppliers in Big Trouble With the Automaker

Consumers and experts love to catch glimpses of unreleased vehicles. So leaks of exciting new cars happen occasionally. Sometimes these leaks are spy photos of sweet new rides wrapped in camouflage patterns. Other times, they’re malicious leaks, when someone on the inside can’t help but prematurely share photos with the world. And the latter situation recently got suppliers in big trouble with Ford.

With so many new vehicles on deck, the iconic American automaker isn’t pleased that a few leaked photos could undermine official launches. The leaks in question surround the Ford Bronco and Maverick releases.

Ford’s exciting new vehicles

As if the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Hybrid releases aren’t compelling enough, Ford is adding even more fuel to the fire with the upcoming Bronco and Bronco Sport, Car and Driver reported. This iconic SUV’s resurrection has sparked enthusiasm among consumers expecting a four-by-four with all of today’s bells and whistles. But the Bronco isn’t the only shiny new addition to the automakers’ lineup: The Maverick is coming in 2022. This new rendition introduces an entirely new pickup, smaller than the popular F-150.

Building suspense and momentum before the official launch of the Bronco, automotive publications such as Motor1 posted spy shots of test vehicles. As is common practice for test vehicles across the industry, Ford wrapped the then-unreleased Bronco in camo to prevent prying eyes from determining the exact look.

But spy shots weren’t the issue in this case.

Someone got a little too excited about Ford’s releases

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But last year, MotorTrend reported about leaked photos of the Maverick’s tailgate that Motor1 had published. Where did they come from?

It seems at least one supplier’s employee jumped the gun and started taking pictures to share within their online fan groups. Images showed up online of the new compact pickup, the Ford Maverick, as it rolled down an assembly line in Mexico. Other leaked pictures featured the new Bronco and Bronco Sport.

Unlike spy shots, these leaked photos are a huge no-no. They could significantly affect the vehicles’ sales. And Ford took swift action.

The automaker’s official response and warning

Ford immediately responded to the leaks, Automotive News recently reported. Officials confirmed without naming specifics that several breaches had occurred. And Tier 1 suppliers were in trouble.

Tier 1 suppliers are businesses that directly supply parts or services to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). In this case, Tier 1 suppliers are responsible for building parts for the new Bronco and Maverick. Usually, a Tier 1 supplier enjoys an almost exclusive, close relationship with its OEM.

In a memo to all suppliers and partners, Ford insisted they must have a “robust leak prevention plan” to prevent breaches. The memo also sternly reads, “Ford has a zero-tolerance policy for leaks emanating from our own team members, and we need all supplier personnel to adopt a similar approach regarding unauthorized disclosures of Ford confidential information.”

Some assembly line staff might be facing reprimands. And though consumers might not see the harm in a few pictures circulating, it’s clear Ford isn’t pleased.

Much more goes into building and launching a successful vehicle than renderings. Building excitement among consumers and strategically teasing details will help increase the suspense. And for that reason, Ford prohibits photos or videos of any prototypes before official introductions.