Ford announced Friday morning that its global workforce is being instructed to operate remotely wherever and whenever possible in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. Separately, the company communicated to media outlets that the events planned to introduce the 2021 Bronco 4x4 have been called off.
These series of dealer- and media-facing events scheduled for next week were intended to pave the way for the Bronco's formal unveiling. The cancellations will not have any impact on the Bronco's production schedule or on-sale date, Ford says.
"Our proactive precautions have not impacted the scheduled launch of new Ford vehicles at this time, including the all-new Ford Bronco and all-new F-150 – although we have re-timed some media programs," a Ford spokesperson told Autoblog. "We will continue to take the necessary actions to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus while maximizing the health of our business."
Separately, the company made a formal announcement that it has instituted remote work policies across its global operations, effective Monday. The full statement follows:
Ford’s top priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees, dealers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Thankfully, the effect of the coronavirus on Ford employees so far has been very limited. In recent days, though, we concluded the issue has taken on a different dimension – and are continuing to act in real time to keep our people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in communities where we live and work. Therefore, starting Monday, we are instructing much of our global workforce – except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities – to work remotely until further notice. The action will additionally help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus while maximizing the health of our business.
To make matters worse for Ford's 4x4 fans, the New York Auto Show, which was to play host to the unveiling of the Ford Bronco Sport, was postponed Tuesday. That show will now take place in August. It's unclear whether automakers will go forward with electronic introductions in April (as many did for the cancelled Geneva show), or if some of the introductions intended to take place will actually be held over until the show's new time slot.
On the bright side, there have been enough leaks of the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport that it almost feels like Ford has pulled the sheet off of both of them already. Those morsels will have to be enough to tide us over until Ford can come up with an alternative approach.