For some would-be Ford Bronco owners, the wait continues

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. had hoped by now to move thousands of Bronco SUVs from holding lots to customer driveways, but some buyers say they’re still waiting. And they likely will be for at least a few more months.

The automaker in mid-February blamed the ongoing global microchip shortage for a backlog of unfinished Broncos at a lot near its Michigan Assembly Plant that restless buyers have nicknamed Dirt Mountain. At the time, it said those off-roaders should be completed and shipped within 90 days, provided the automaker could get enough chips.

Those 90 days are up, and while a Ford spokesman said a “vast majority” of the February vehicles have been shipped, Dirt Mountain remains full of Broncos, according to recent videos posted on owner forums online. It’s the latest sign of the lingering effects of the chip shortage, which has upended production across the industry and especially at Ford.

The automaker, in a statement, said it was shipping completed SUVs every day.

“While the global semiconductor chip shortage and supply chain challenges for various commodities continues to impact vehicle production for all automakers, our teams have been updating units at Michigan Assembly Plant and shipping to dealers and customers daily,” Ford spokesman Said Deep said in an email. “The challenges facing the industry are fluid and we are doing our best to get Broncos to our customers as quickly as we can.”

That’s of little solace to would-be owners such as Mark Pilipczuk, whose four-door Bronco Outer Banks has been sitting at Dirt Mountain or another lot since mid-January.

The dealership he purchased from, Ourisman Ford of Manassas in Virginia, initially said the SUV would be delivered May 9, roughly consistent with Ford’s 90-day timeline. But Pilipczuk recently was given a new date: July 26 at the earliest.

“In that entire period, I only received one email from Ford a couple of months back telling me that they were doing some quality checks,” he said. “I’d love to give Ford — or at least Ourisman Ford — the 50-something thousand dollars. But they’re making it hard and frustrating to do so.”

Pilipczuk said it’s particularly upsetting to see other owners get their Broncos in far less time, echoing long- standing complaints over the seemingly random order in which they’re being completed.

“The key source of frustration for me has been that I can see the exact same Bronco rolling off the line and being delivered to customers,” he said. “It appears to me that people who had Broncos built in the first three or four weeks of the year got stuck with some missing components. If I’d drawn a build week just a few weeks later than Jan. 17, I might be enjoying it right now.”

Despite the long waits, the Bronco has been an early sales success for Ford.

The automaker sold 13,113 in the U.S. in April — the most of any month since the June 2021 launch — and says many buyers are opting to add pricey accessories such as winches and lighting kits.

Ford has said 70 percent of the customers buying its newest products, including the Bronco, are new to the brand. Jason Britton is one such conquest — for now.

The Chevrolet Silverado owner from Huntsville, Ala., who has also owned multiple Jeeps, has been waiting on chip-related components for his four-door Bronco Black Diamond since mid-February.

Britton said he was scheduled to take delivery Saturday, May 28, but recently was informed his vehicle would not be delivered until early August.

He’s concerned that his SUV — a soft-top — might experience weather damage sitting outside that long and has been frustrated with what he described as a lack of communication from Ford.

“I am considering abandoning my order for a Jeep Wrangler or a [Toyota] 4Runner,” Britton said in an email. “Those of us on Ice/Dirt Mountain are afterthoughts.”