Home » Why Ford Is Handing Out $2500 Rebates Just To Get People To Cancel Their Bronco Orders

Why Ford Is Handing Out $2500 Rebates Just To Get People To Cancel Their Bronco Orders

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Good Wednesday morning and welcome back to The Autopian’s yet-to-be-renamed morning news roundup. On tap for you today: Ford will pay you to go away, then it may pay its European plant to go to BYD; Tesla’s Autopilot is slipping in the ratings; and the electrified Honda Civic is back. Let’s do this thing.

Cash For Broncos

2023 Bronco Heritage Edition Race Red 02
Photo credit: Ford

Think the auto industry’s supply crunch is over? Think again. Ford debuted the insanely popular Bronco at a very unfortunate time — right in the middle of the pandemic — and that’s kept a lot of models from reaching buyers’ driveways. The automaker has a bunch of Bronco orders it needs to fill, and now it’s going to pay you cash money if you consider another Bronco trim level or switch to another model entirely.

Automotive News explains it thusly:

The automaker says those who ordered a 2023 Bronco Wildtrak can receive the discount by switching to a Big Bend, Outer Banks or Badlands trim without a molded-in color hard-top roof, Sasquatch package or Lux package.

Alternatively, customers can get the same discount by choosing another Ford vehicle. The automaker says customers can opt for any 2022 or 2023 in-stock model or elect to order an Escape, Bronco Sport, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Ranger or F-150.

That excludes the Mustang Mach-E. I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing: get a $2,500 cancellation discount and then a $7,500 EV tax credit for that car, right? But no, it doesn’t work that way. Probably because the Mach-E is facing similar supply and demand challenges. Sad.

Here’s what Ford has to say about the matter:

“Due to ongoing supply chain challenges, we are notifying a small number of existing Bronco reservation and order holders that they can receive a 2023 model year Bronco if they remove certain constrained features, including the Sasquatch package, Molded in Color Hard Top and Lux Package. Customers who remove constrained features are expected to receive a 2023 model year Bronco along with a $2,500 rebate toward purchase or lease in addition to existing MSRP price protection they may have.”

Another Hit For Tesla’s Autopilot

If you need any additional evidence that “Full Self-Driving” is nothing of the sort, here’s Reuters on a new Consumer Reports dispatch (that isn’t online yet) ranking Autopilot below a number of competitors:
Of 12 systems tested by Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that evaluates products and services, Ford Motor’s BlueCruise was first, followed by General Motors’ Cadillac Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance.

Tesla, which was second in Consumer Reports ratings in 2020 behind Super Cruise, fell to seventh, the group said.

“After all this time, Autopilot still doesn’t allow collaborative steering and doesn’t have an effective driver monitoring system,” said Consumer Reports Auto Testing director Jake Fisher in a statement.

Emphasis mine right there, because I wanted to get at the heart of why Autopilot isn’t measuring up. Besides seemingly being willing to take more risks than most ADAS systems, Autopilot is starting to lag behind competitors in important advancements like minding drivers so they don’t do something extraordinarily stupid with the system engaged.
And frankly, I’m not sure why that is. Tesla pioneered this stuff. We all know it’s had problems from the get-go and was born under false pretenses, but why not try and lead the way a little better here? Is Tesla too cheap to implement systems that would fix this? Too confident in the ultimate success of AI-driving? Why doesn’t Tesla get its shit together when it comes to Autopilot? As that story says, every other OEM is catching up fast. Tesla can’t afford to lose a lead in any race anymore.

Honda Civic Hybrid Returns

Honda Civic Ehev Eu Version 2023 1600 03
Photo: Honda
Remember the Honda Civic Hybrid? You probably do, but it hasn’t been sold on American shores since 2015. After a generational hiatus, Honda says it’s back, according to Car and Driver:

We reported last April that Honda had launched a hybrid version of the Civic hatchback in Europe, and speculated that the car would also come stateside to fill the gap left by the discontinued Insight sedan. We’re not sure yet exactly how Honda will adjust the European car’s powertrain, which consists of a 2.0-liter inline-four and two electric motors that combine for 181 horsepower, for the U.S. market. But we can only hope that its output comes closer to the 204 horsepower offered by the closely related hybrid setup in the 2023 Accord hybrid.

The new Civic is an exceptionally good car. If they keep the Civic Hybrid’s price reasonable, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better daily driver than that.

The Flush (For Now)

Why doesn’t Tesla fix Autopilot? All these Model 3s crashing into swimming pools lately, it’s getting tiresome.

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49 Responses

  1. Preston Tucker was ultimately defeated because he took orders on product he couldn’t deliver. Ford is doing the same thing and they know it. They have no intention of producing enough vehicles to meet demand and they have the pandemic for misdirection. Like cryptocurrency their business model is based on hope and promises. I feel badly for customers losing out on their dream car but most customers are speculators looking for a quick flip. The new Bronco NFT.
    Speaking of Ford, Tesla is making the classic Henry Ford mistake. Henry couldn’t understand why his loyal subjects were turning their backs on the Model T. He assumed it was the perfect car with no more development needed. Before long those Tesla charging stations will become their main source of income.

  2. I have a buddy who ordered a Bronco back in 2021 and it’s been an absolute shit show for him. His 2022 got delayed until 2023 and now he’s in the $2500 rebate batch and is currently weighing his options. I feel for him, because it’s a car he was super excited about and now he’s reached a stage of defeated indifference.

    It’s really killed his enthusiasm for the model and I think he’s going to wind up canceling his order and going in another direction. I get that these are ridiculous times for car manufacturing and the supply chain, but honestly shame on Ford for how hard they’ve overpromised and under delivered with this, the Maverick, and the Mach E.

    They all seem like great cars…but to make desirable cars, then tell customers they can get whatever they want, then tell customers they can get most of what they want, and eventually tell customers “lol sorry it may never happen” is weak as hell. It’s also frustrating to hear this Ford rep spewing excuses.

    Just admit you overpromised and underdelivered. It’s what all these damn companies do. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it came out later that Ford has been limiting supply on purpose. It’s what pretty much all these manufacturers are doing with enthusiast models…and it’s enabling scalpers to eat up supply and profit, bloodsucking dealerships to slap ridiculous markups on them, et cetera.

    All these companies want to make excuses about how none of this is their fault but guess what? A lot of it is.

    1. “Defeated indifference” is a pretty common refrain on the B6G forums. I’m a day 1 reservation, still waiting. Ford has doubled-down on the issues over these years by re-opening order books and filling new orders, and dealer stock, before people that have waited for years. All because dealers balked at moving beyond the legacy allocations model. The potential good news in the short term, is that Ford is using this next month make a push to clear the old backloggers like me. They’re allowing dealers with a large queue to “pull forward” allocations, now new orders, and no dealer stock scheduling. Unfortunately, there’s word that order books will reopen in March.

      I’m a day 1 reservation, still waiting. As a Base ManSquatch hopeful, this news has nudged me to switch to a base Base. If it gets built this MY, I’ll be under $30k out the door. If not, I’m just not a Ford customer going forward (another common refrain).

      I feel extra bad for people that have to sacrifice on their $50k+ WildTrak order for a relatively small incentive.

      1. I went through the classic 7 stages of grief on my Bronco order for all the reasons you guys listed. I gave up and went another direction as well.

        I had wanted a Bronco since I was a little kid, and I thought my dream was going to come true. They crushed that right out of me. In the process of handling my Bronco order, then my Maverick order when I gave up on the Bronco, then their lack of effort in handling my request to find another vehicle when I couldn’t wait on the Maverick any more, and finally their ineptitude in the final service of my previous vehicle, the dealer destroyed the trust I had in my 15 year relationship with them. I will never go back to them for anything, ever again.

    2. Yep, this is pretty much what happened to me, too. Got burned out waiting for my order and decided to go a completely different route instead (building up a GX460 for overlanding).

      1. LoL….we also got a GX 460. I then no longer needed my F-250 so we sold it for a bit older 4 door wrangler. I like the Bronco but I don’t see me every buying one due to the shitshow…

      2. The GX460 is an amazing truck. Good looking. Capable. Comfortable. Bombproof…there’s a good chance you’ll only be under the hood for oil changes for the first 100,000 miles. My wife and I will need a family hauler in the next few years if all goes according to plan and I’ve tried to sell her on a GX but I think the fuel economy is a non starter for her.

        1. Oh no! The editors at Car & Driver are really going to hate you! That platform is old and boring! Meanwhile, you are driving a bulletproof tank that will never let you down. I salute you, sir!

        2. yeah, the fuel economy/premium gas combo is definitely the biggest bummer about the 460. i came from an ’88 FJ62 and it’s remarkable how quiet the cabin is and it’s just so nicely built (still built in Japan, too, IIRC). wasn’t sure if i’d like it as much but now that i’ve put time some time into it, i love it and i’m like sixty-who? sike, i miss my 62 a lot but not as much now 🙂

  3. That Ford quote about the tops being “cosmetic” is bull. V1 was delaminating at the edges, meaning that water could easily intrude, expand, and destroy it. V2 is currently cracking around the rear quarter window. That’s not cosmetic. And the issues are due to a bad design with aggressive cost-cutting.

    Apparently, an enormous company like Ford still hasn’t learned that if you do it cheap once, you just do it expensive twice.

    1. Having worked for auto suppliers myself, Webasto is responsible for the design and manufacture of the tops, not Ford. And those issues you list can still be attributed to the molded in color material – the fact that those issues are occurring doesn’t mean that the color issue is NOT the primary reason for the stop sale and recalls. If Ford should be blamed for anything, it’s that their pre-production process didn’t catch those issues early enough. I would like to think that Webasto is an experienced enough supplier that they weren’t playing “fake it til you make it” on the tops, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. Plenty of suppliers bid on contracts knowing they can’t actually build the parts to their quote, but once the design process is underway, it’s extremely difficult/expensive for the automaker to change suppliers.

      1. The plant is almost in my backyard and it was a greenfield build. Compared to when the Bronco hit SOP, that plant went up late. Nearly all of the pre-production test mules were running around with soft tops, and the hard tops were made in a non-production process.

        From the forums, the first issue of the tops delaminating was a design issue from the Ford side, but it was partially or completely masked by manufacturing issues on the Webasto side. If the plant had been up and running sooner, that’s the sort of issue that would have been caught in C sample (production intent, non production process) or D sample (production intent, production process) testing.

        I haven’t heard much about the cracking around the rear window, but I also stopped following Bronco news after I cancelled my order due to extensive delays with poor communication from my dealer and Ford (I got left out of all the “sorry” gifts from Ford).

        At the end of the day, the average consumer thinks that Ford screwed up, and Ford must be incompetent for these issues. Many times the issues were impossible to predict or were the results of other upstream issues they couldn’t prevent. But, as with my comment on another article, the lack of clear and timely communication with customers is what kills relationships.

    2. Thanks for this insight. I was going to ask why they have to be color-molded and why they can’t just y’know, paint them. Or put a vinyl wrap on them. Or _____. But it sounds like the problems are more than cosmetic.

  4. “So what happens if you don’t act on this information? If your ordered Bronco can’t be delivered in 2023, your order will be canceled, and if you want the same car you’ll have to re-order it at 2024 model-year prices.”

    Which is a very convenient way to not only take away the $2500 credit (it’s not a rebate, it’s not cash in your pocket, it’s store credit.) And also to line their own pockets, as the 2024 will likely have no significant changes, the same unavailable options, and a significant price increase. (I’m hearing $1750+ for affected trim levels.)

    “The talks are still in a preliminary stage, and a deal may ultimately fall through. In addition to BYD, Ford is also talking to other manufacturers, including Magna International Inc., a Canadian contract auto manufacturer, and financial investors, who could potentially join with a manufacturer, the people said.”

    I’m not ruling BYD out by any stretch – they have the full financial backing of the Chinese government. But I’d definitely put Magna out in front of them in terms of preference. BYD is a direct competitor to Ford; Magna International is a key and major supplier for Ford. Selling their plant to an active partner that makes parts for their BEVs means having their cake and eating it too. They get a bunch of cash, and they get more capacity for their own products. (Yes, Magna makes things for other people too. But Ford still benefits. It’s a win-win there.) BYD is a direct competitor, especially with BYD very recently introducing a pickup truck that would compete with the Maverick/Ranger in Europe.

    “We’re not sure yet exactly how Honda will adjust the European car’s powertrain, which consists of a 2.0-liter inline-four and two electric motors that combine for 181 horsepower, for the U.S. market.”

    The third gen Insight wasn’t a flop because of a lack of power. It was a lack of completely failing to understand the market. It was cheap, it actually felt cheap, and next to the new Civic the 4th gen interior felt painfully dated. Honda only managed to move 5,722 of them in the first 6 months of last year – 1/4th the number of Priuses (Pririi? Priiiiiiii?) Toyota moved.
    And it’s extremely easy to see why just by comparing the two visually, particularly the interior. I mean come on. The new for 2019 Insight’s infotainment screen looked like they made a trip to BestBuy and asked for the cheapest thing they had on the shelf. And then found a way to make it look and feel even cheaper. Absolutely zero “I bought a hybrid” green credibility; it’s just an Accord with badges. Except next to any other 2019 Honda it looked and felt chintzy and cheap – because it was.

    Nobody aspired to an Insight. Nobody respected an Insight. Nobody was impressed by an Insight. And it simply brought nothing to the table as a car other than the feeling of a penalty box commuter.

    “Why doesn’t Tesla get its shit together when it comes to Autopilot?”

    Because they don’t give a shit and never have given a shit. Move fast, kill people. What’re you gonna do, sue them? They don’t even pay their rent.

  5. I feel like that Civic has almost a throwback greenhouse. First sedan I can remember in ages that doesn’t look like the belt line is trying to marry the roofline, and the glass is trying, but failing, to separate them.

    I wonder how it compares in size/volume with my Alltrack. Not that I’m trading in—I freaking love that car—but the Honda has its appeal.

    1. Yeah normally I’d write off a Civic Hybrid, but a hatch….that is different. Of course it will be up against the new Prius, so there is that. And I’d probably prefer a PHEV at this point.

  6. with all the driver assist and automated driving dreams that keep confusing or outright failing the public.

    I know being unfettered with rules and regulations can lead to innovation, but at this point in the game I feel like regulations would benefit the public at this point.
    enough with the branded name systems, here is the list of required levels of automation and here is what you have to call it if it can meet these levels.

  7. Sucks on the Broncos. Its hard enough to be trying to roll out a product and have it not meeting spec in the factory, when you get it out in to the real world and it still isn’t?
    Gotta feel bad.

    To fix Autopilot, Tesla would have to admit they screwed up. The engineering and design teams are capable of that, I’m sure. There just seems to be one single road block in doing so.
    …. Welp

  8. Also concerning Tesla FSD, I offer up this tidbit:
    “A Dec. 31 tweet suggested drivers with more than 10,000 miles using Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) software system should be able to disable the “steering wheel nag,” an alert that instructs drivers to hold the wheel to confirm they are paying attention. Musk responded: “Agreed, update coming in Jan.””

    So, yeah, there’s that.

  9. Tesla’s Autopilot. Isn’t the fix for that a spike where the air bag is usually installed in the steering wheel? They have enough supply for that?

  10. Ford supplier Webasto isn’t performing well, causing issues with Bronco hard tops. Webasto is one of the suppliers of diesel heaters used in camper vans and other vehicles. I’m not sure of the exact cost, but they are not inexpensive, like $800 or so. The Chinese make clones (search ‘Chinese diesel heater’) they go for less than $150 and appear to be decent. (Full disclosure, I installed one in my van last fall, I upgraded some of the components, and I still only in it for $250). So far so good.

    Maybe the Chinese should clone the Bronco hard tops.

  11. Folks, you are a car enthusiast website. I think you are missing the obvious interim answer for your in-development morning news article naming convention. What do all car companies do when testing a soon-to-be released-but-not-officially-announced models in the wild? Digital cam wrap…I fully expect to see tomorrow morning’s article of five-ish bite size nuggets to be called “The ”

  12. There is a Sasquatch trim level?
    Without bothering to look it up I would like to know whether that means that you can hose out the interior after carrying a Sasquatch, or if the interior is covered with Sasquatch fur.

    I might be interested in the hose out the Sasquatch option.

  13. The way you write software to dazzle the tech press with staged demos and the way you write software to deal with legal liability exist on opposite sides of a spectrum, and Tesla is far, far closer to the former in how they go about things.

    That and, at least anecdotally (Silicon Valley code monkey here, get plenty of 1st and 2nd hand testimonials), much of their experienced engineering workforce is being hollowed out. Place was always a dysfunctional hellhole to work at and now that the share price party is over most the folks who have no problem finding jobs elsewhere are doing just that.

  14. In what universe is BlueCruise better than Autopilot? I have both and BlueCruise bounces back and forth from “hands off driving” to “Grab the wheel but I’m still working!” to “TAKE OVER NOW” for no discernible reason. Autopilot is pretty predictable and always wants you to have hands on the wheel. ???

  15. Ford is a clown car of a company, and it’s baffling to me why anyone would buy one of their cars. Just issue after issue, rollout problems over and over again.

  16. May I humbly submit “Morning Milk Run” as a new name for this feature? You could launch it with a newly imagined Divco EV milk truck fit for the return of milk delivery in trendy neighborhoods.

  17. Wait, Ford still can’t manufacture the hard tops? Isn’t this a problem that has been known basically since launch? This is starting to sound like the horror stories I hear from family involved in manufacturing. There’s probably an expert in Ford/Webasto who knows exactly how to fix this and has explained it to everyone, but they’re ignoring him/her for reasons I can only speculate on.

  18. My fiance has 2 years left on her Gladiator lease- wonder if we should order a Bronco now for when it’s up.

    Remember the phrase ‘good, fast, and cheap. Pick 2’? I think it’s down to picking 1.

    1. sadly, you can’t order one at the moment. last time i talked to my ford dealer, they were thinking Fall ’23 for ordering again. with this news, though, might be pushed back more.

  19. Tesla doesn’t fix their system because they are completely committed to the illusion. If you add better driver monitoring or change the system to be more collaborative, you admit that it doesn’t just drive itself. If you restrict the self-driving to limited geographical areas or use cases, you admit it’s not capable in all situations.

    Sure, it would be better to admit those things and fix the problems, but that isn’t as flashy and they’ve currently got a customer base that will support them.

  20. The Civic looks like a good introduction to full EV. Well known vehicle, new transport model.

    As for Autopilot. Tesla would have to admit something doesn’t work and can’t blame others. Not going to happen.

  21. Ah Ford, they can’t make enough Broncos, Mach-E’s, Mavericks (and the hybrid is totally MIA), or F-150 Lightnings, but you can console yourself with a nice Ford Escape…

    If I was going to buy a Bronco, I want the red on on the header picture.

    1. If I was going to buy a Bronco, I want the red on on the header picture.

      The Heritage edition ones are so fucking sweet looking. I’d probably find a way to go with Federal Standard 34350 myself

    2. But the yellow one at the top is sweet as well. But, when I look at the configurator, there is no yellow color option. I’m waiting for my Maverick and I think I’ll be ordering a red heritage. I never would have thought I would be on a waiting list for TWO Fords. This new world is really weird.

    3. Yeah I had to laugh at the idea that someone sitting on a Bronco order for over a year is just going to decide they’re good with anything else in the Ford lineup. Just get an Edge, same thing right?

      1. Honestly they’d be more likely to get a Wrangler or a Gladiator. Honestly Jeep is missing an opportunity in making a new Jeep Gala/Surrey trim for the Wrangler and Gladiator like the old DJ-3a as well as various two tone and other retro Jeep paintjobs. They can make their own “Heritage Edition” models but without the year+ long wait times that Ford has with the Bronco.

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