The Big Three planned to resume domestic manufacturing today after the enforced hiatus and, with all hope, can begin piecing together firm timelines for many delayed orders of business. A couple of days ago, a leaked bulletin showed Ford waiting to open the order books for the new F-150 by a month, and holding off production by about two weeks at its Dearborn Truck Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant. In March, Ford told Autoblog, “Our proactive precautions have not impacted the scheduled launch of new Ford vehicles at this time, including the all-new Ford Bronco and all-new F-150 — although we have re-timed some media programs.” Much has happened in the meantime. The Detroit News reports that the 2021 Bronco and Mach-E have also been placed in the queue, with manufacturing for each vehicle set back by two months, about as long as the shutdown has persisted.
Ford lost $2 billion in the first quarter of 2020 and in April forecast a loss of $5 billion for the second quarter, the company forced to watch the financial conflagration while its profit-pumping fire trucks are stuck in the garage. With manufacturing back, Ford says it will spend the money it takes to get the trucks to dealers and customers. The head of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang, told Bank of America analysts, “We’re not going to do any additional delay to these launches beyond the impact of Covid-19 as a mechanism to conserve cash,” adding, “But we expect the launch delays to be commensurate with the duration of the shutdown period.”
Bronco Sport production had already been pushed back two months, to September 7, at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, facility. Based on the latest publicized timeline, the Job One for the F-150 happens in Dearborn on October 12 and in Kansas City on November 9. We had previously never gotten dates for Bronco and Mach-E production any more specific than “fall” and “availability late this year.” We know Ford’s Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant (CSAP) in Mexico produced pre-production Mach-Es in February. Also in February, Ford said the Mach-E would launch in Europe and the U.S. simultaneously, and in late April Ford Norway sent customers an update that deliveries of the electric crossover would begin in November as planned. With a two-month delay, that takes EV deliveries into January 2021. Production of the 2021 Bronco is likely in that October/November window as well.