(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co is delaying the launch of its Bronco SUV next year to the summer from the initial spring target due to coronavirus-related issues with its suppliers, a company spokesman said on Friday.
“Deliveries will begin the summer rather than the spring. That’s being driven by COVID-related challenges some of our suppliers are experiencing,” Ford spokesman Said Deep said.
The suppliers, which Ford did not identify, have had development work for tooling delayed by the pandemic, Deep said. Asked whether the launch could face further delays, Deep said Ford was monitoring the outbreak closely.
The pandemic caused the U.S. auto industry to shutter plants for two months earlier in the year, but since production restarted automakers have been largely successful in preventing the spread of the virus within their facilities.
Ford still expects to begin building the Bronco at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan in the spring, Deep said. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company is already shipping the smaller Bronco Sport, which is built in Mexico.
Customers’ ability to place orders for the Bronco also has been delayed from Dec. 7 to mid-January, Deep said.
Earlier on Friday, industry officials said a shortage of chips used in auto manufacturing could disrupt vehicle production in China well into next year. Deep said Ford’s issues were not related.
Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Leslie Adler and Will Dunham