A few Ford customers are expressing concerns about the quality control of the new Bronco after noticing the molded hardtop seemed to be coming apart prematurely. The issue impacts an unknown number of early vehicles, with only a handful of owners suggesting they’ve noticed anything. However, those that are sounding alarm bells noted that the vehicle seemed put together when they purchased it, with the defects manifesting after a few weeks of regular use.
Problems include the headliner separating from the roof panels and some discoloration at the seams. But the signature defect appears to be scales appearing on the hardtop’s exterior. While smooth to the touch, members of the Bronco6G forum reported that their roofs had developed patterning that resembled snakeskin in some areas — attributing the phenomenon to the outer laminate layer being cast too thin.
That’s not yet been proven but seems a plausible enough explanation. It’s the kind of thing that probably looked fine when they were rolling out of the factory and would account for why the unplanned patterning hasn’t been more universal. Ford also decided to delay the Bronco’s color-matched roof option until late 2022, citing supply troubles. Those metal-topped SUVs probably won’t see daylight until 2023, leaving customers with the soft top (which can have a kit added to allow the metal hardtop to be installed later) or the molded hardtop that might have some quality control issues.
Ford tapped German supplier Webasto for the part, which required the completion of Webasto Roof Systems Inc. in Plymouth, Michigan, on a fairly tight timeline that wasn’t made any easier by COVID lockdowns. Its first batch may have been subject to some growing pains as it fine-tuned the assembly process or (potentially) rushed to meet order demands. But we’re just guessing here. Ford could have just as easily given them the wrong specifications and then just shrugged when they arrived all sigogglin.
What’s certain is that we’ve heard murmurings that some of the molded hardtops weren’t looking so good after about a month of use. A few customers have also bemoaned the fit and finish, citing misaligned edges, minor warping, and separation from the headliner. Whether those turn out to be isolated issues or something more pervasive, Ford has at least indicated that it’s happy to fix whatever problems arise — provided they’re under warranty.
Meanwhile, everyone’s going to be watching out to see how many more reports of wonky roofs come in to see if it was just the first batch that has problems. If not, Ford could find itself involved in another recall campaign that could have been avoided if a bit more time was taken to make better decisions in preproduction.
[Image: Ford Motor Co.]