The coronavirus outbreak will delay by nearly two months the start of production for Ford Motor Co.'s Bronco Sport crossover, suppliers have been told.
The Escape-size off-roader will start rolling off assembly lines at Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico, plant on Sept. 7, nearly 60 days after the original July 13 target, according to supplier information obtained by Automotive News.
Ford declined to comment, saying it doesn't discuss future products.
The coronavirus outbreak has shuttered Ford assembly plants and supplier parts factories across North America, delaying pilot production of the Bronco Sport, as well. Parts used for Bronco Sport pilot production were originally scheduled to be shipped this month, according to suppliers.
The Bronco Sport, which sits on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the redesigned Escape, has a stance similar to that of the Jeep Renegade, based on photos leaked in March. It's expected to go on sale this fall ahead of its big brother, the Bronco SUV, which is set to debut in early 2021.
Ford planned to reveal the Bronco Sport at the New York auto show this month, but the show was postponed to August. The Javits Center, where the show is held, has been transformed into a makeshift hospital as cases of COVID-19 in the area surge. Ford has not commented on updated reveal plans.
Leaked photos show the crossover features the name "BRONCO" between its round LED headlights. The rear has the words "Bronco Sport" with the Blue Oval logo positioned in the lower left.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett, speaking last month on a Detroit radio station, said the virus was not likely to have a significant impact on the launch of some of Ford's biggest models, including the Bronco SUV, next-generation F-150 pickup and Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. He did not specifically mention the Bronco Sport, and Ford has not yet officially acknowledged the vehicle's name.
"It's had an effect, but it's not going to dampen our spirits about how all these great new things have to come to market," Hackett said. "If they're a month or six weeks late, I don't think anyone would think we fumbled there because of the virus."