This year has challenged just about every aspect of the economy. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, so too did its strangle on life and industry, including automotive. While production stops due to COVID-19 have impacted every single automaker and every assembly plant, the impact is even harder on vehicles that were planned to launch in 2020.
As we close out the year it is fairly clear now the impact the pandemic has on vehicle launches. At the highest level there’s two buckets of impact on vehicle launches. The first is comprised of vehicles that saw their start of production date move, but not substantially versus original plan. The second bucket consist of launches that have simply been punted by months.
There has been countless vehicle launches delayed this year. General Motors’ 2021 full-size SUV launch is one that has seen its timeline move several times in 2020. While the very-important profit centers still made it to dealerships in 2020, it wasn’t without its share of supply chain hiccups.
Cross-town rival Ford has felt the COVID-19 impact on its 2021 Ford F-150 launch. Like GM’s SUV’s, the 2021 F-150 is arriving in dealerships now, but its about 30-60 days later than originally planned. Ford also has thousands of F-150 sitting in yards waiting on additional parts; parts constrained due to coronavirus.
However, in a few cases automakers have simply moved the launch date of their new products to 2021 for a litany of reasons. Those vehicles include:
2021 Ford Bronco
There’s no question the highest-profile delay is the 2021 Ford Bronco. Bronco production was slated to start in December, but Ford has officially moved the start date to February 2021. The delay is attributed to parts issues due to COVID-19. Some additional options that were announced after the Bronco’s reveal have also been delayed until 2022 model year.
While undoubtedly sad news for Bronco fans, the revived icon should still arrive in dealerships by early spring 2021.
2022 Honda Civic
Honda hasn’t been immune to delays either. The automaker planned to start production of its all-new 2022 Honda Civic in November. The November date has since slipped to January 2021, which isn’t too significant of a delay. It is worth mentioning only the redesigned sedan is slated to start production in January, with the hatchback to follow later. We also expect Honda to reveal the production version of the new Civic next month.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep fans have long waited for an all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Unfortunately, the wait has been lengthened a bit when it comes to the new WL Grand Cherokee. The redesigned Grand Cherokee was supposed to be in production now, but FCA has since delayed it to March 2021. The delay impacts the three-row version only; the two-row option is still slated to launch later in 2021.
Refreshed Chevrolet Traverse
In mid-2019 Chevrolet revealed a refreshed 2021 Chevrolet Traverse. At the time it was expected to launch in the 2021 model year, but that plan was scrapped. Chevy pushed the refresh to the 2022 model due to supply chain issues from the pandemic, meaning interested buyers now have to wait until Q3 2021 for a revamped Traverse.
Refreshed Chevrolet Equinox
Like Traverse, the refreshed Equinox was revealed for the 2021 model year. Chevrolet quickly did an about-face and punted the new look to the 2022 model year. Expect the fresh face to show up in dealership in late 2021. Chevy is saying to expect further announcements about the revised Equinox closer to its new launch.