Pre-production 2021 Broncos roll off assembly line, first Broncos since 1996
Well, Bronco Nation, it's happening — really happening.
An estimated 2,000 factory workers began the official build of the first two pre-production models of the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco SUV at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne early Tuesday and those white and silver vehicles rolled off the assembly line at 7:50 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Ford confirmed.
This process is critical to a successful launch.
It tests every element of the build process to make sure there are no hiccups.
These are the vehicles that will test out the manufacturing tooling, refine the assembly process and ensure high quality, all with a plan to create a flawless Ford Bronco, said Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager.
The two vehicles together took an estimated 13 hours total on the assembly line.
This is the first Bronco that has gone down the line since the last Bronco at the plant in 1996.
If all 150,000 people who placed a $100 refundable reservation actuallypurchase the iconic vehicle, it could mean more than $1 billion for Ford.
"This truck is definitely going to be a game changer," said Loreno Smith, a utility technician on the assembly line.
Rough road inspector Jamie Baxendate said, "We are all super-excited to be building the Bronco. As for me, I’ll be getting a two-door Badlands edition.”
Orders may be placed as soon as December.
The Bronco will be shipped to dealerships in the spring of 2021.
As the Bronco Nation presence grows on social media, wannabe owners say they can't wait to close the deal.
Mike Onufrychuk, 34, a government consultant who lives in Arlington, Virginia, said he placed his reservation on July 14 and the coronavirus pandemic has only made him want the vehicle more. He's looking at one in Cactus Gray.
"They caught me at a really good time," he told the Free Press on Wednesday. "I have a 4-year-old daughter and a son who just turned 1. I've had a commuter sedan for five years and I was just looking for a car with more space. I always liked the retro Broncos."
While a Jeep was part of an initial plan, the four-door Bronco seemed perfect, Onufrychuk said. "I have two kids, a wife and a dog. Being cooped up in the house all the time now, we're wanting to make plans for just getting out there — exploring, heading down to Shenandoah Valley, getting my kids into hiking and camping or skiing."
He added, “I never thought I’d kinda be a car guy. But since I’ve reserved the car, I’ve been pumped up.”
Steve McCratic, 45, is a real estate agent in Bentonville, Arkansas, who has eyes on the Antimatter Blue four-door Bronco. He placed an order in July, too, right after the big reveal. "I wasn't able to get in immediately but I made it within 24 hours."
He had a four-door Jeep Wrangler but it developed the notorious "death wobble."
"I've got two kids and there's no way I'm going down the highway with this happening," McCratic said. "It rocks the steering wheel back and forth. It feels like it's going off the road. It's not troubling unless you're doing 70 down the interstate and then it's terrifying."
A convertible option sweetened the deal for McCratic. "I've got two girls, 5 and 11 — Piper and Charlotte. We'll be going camping and over-landing and weekending-type stuff."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the assembly line was rolling on schedule and continuing the work to perfect the Bronco build.
“It's an exhilarating feeling to see years of planning by the Ford team finally come together," said plant manager Erik Williams. "It’s an honor to build one of the most iconic brands in our legacy.”