Why Did Ford Just Stop Bronco Manual Transmission Production?
Ford is pausing a number of options and trims for the 2023 Bronco. But it is temporary, yet unusual that with such a hot product Ford would choose to stop Bronco production. But now we know why, and it is not what it looks like.
As you know, Ford is at the threshold of beginning production of its all-new Ranger midsize pickup. And this has everything to do with the Bronco because they’ll both be built on the same assembly line at its Michigan Assembly Plant. Building different models on the same line is not always the easiest way to make vehicles.
One thing that helps is to have as many shared components between the two or three models as possible. That is why Ford is holding up Bronco production. It wants to refit the production line to accommodate the Ranger, or as Ford puts it “to maximize commonality on the assembly line to ensure a quality launch for the new Ranger,” a Ford spokesperson told Jalopnik.
One of the casualties of this changeover is the seven-speed manual transmission. Right now, Ford says it won’t accept orders if they include the manual transmission option. Also, Ford estimates it won’t produce any more 2023 Broncos with the manual transmission. While we expect it to return for 2024 Bronco production, Ford is not saying if or when that may be.
It is also halting the production of base models and Everglades trims. Next to the Bronco Raptor, the Everglades model is the most luxurious, and most expensive Bronco available. Or, at least it was.
While this is yet, another blow for Bronco production, it is consistent with the difficulties Ford has with getting them assembled and out to customers. From the dearth of microchips to warping hardtops, it has been a continual legacy of production hiccups and stops. And then there are the exorbitant dealer markups to contend with.
That has been another issue that Ford can’t seem to fix. And we don’t even want to know how much dealers will now tack onto a manual transmission Bronco. Over the past few months, it looked like Ford had smoothed out its production woes. Now, this is yet another hurdle to Bronco ownership.
Incredibly, the same thing is happening across the street at Jeep. Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators with manual transmissions have a stop order issued due to overheating clutch pressure plates. The recall was issued earlier this month.
Are we seeing the end of manual transmissions in SUVs? While we would say no, it is uncanny that this is happening to both Ford’s and Jeep’s big sellers. And that it is happening at the same time. Might we be seeing the start of a run on manual 4Runners soon?