Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Auto delay - 2021 models to be released next year

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2020 | 12:00 AM
ABOVE: In this 2019 photograph, the company logo shines off the grille of an unsold 2019 F-250 pickup truck at a Ford dealership in Littleton, Colorado. Ford Motor Co reports quarterly financial results after the market close on Thursday, July 30 2020.
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Usually around late summer, car dealerships begin trotting out the first batch of new models.

This year, you’ll have to wait.

With the coronavirus pandemic slamming the auto industry, certain 2021 vehicles will arrive late as automakers have put the brakes on dozens of debuts.

“We’ve seen quite a few delays,” said Jeff Schuster, president of global vehicle forecasts for research firm LMC Automotive.

While there’s yet to be a new model cancelled publicly, at least 24 redesigned or new vehicles that were poised to roll out in the coming months won’t come out on time, according to LMC Automotive, which provided a partial list to USA TODAY. They include the Ford F-150, Cadillac Escalade, and Acura MDX.

Though designers and engineers are largely able to work from home, plant shutdowns and a sales slowdown have caused the delays.

Overall, automakers had planned launches of 38 redesigned or new 2021 model-year vehicles in the 2020 calendar year. A vehicle is generally considered redesigned when its styling, size, chassis, or powertrain have been substantially overhauled.

Of those 38, five have already launched, including the Tesla Model Y crossover, while 12 have been delayed within the year and 12 have been pushed into next year, according to LMC.

And some are “still at risk to slip into next year”, Schuster said.

The highest-profile delay is for the highest-profile vehicle: the Ford F-150.

Part of the F-series line-up, which is the best-selling vehicle in America, the F-150 is poised for a total redesign. But Ford is expected to delay the start of production from July to September, according to LMC.

Getting the redone F-150 launched, as soon as possible, is extremely important for Ford’s finances. But the two plants where the vehicle is assembled – one in Missouri and one in Michigan – have each grappled with brief production stoppages due to positive coronavirus tests among workers after they resumed operations following two-month shutdowns.

“That’s a substantial launch in a good year and, when everything is normal, a challenging one,” Schuster said.

Ford is also expected to delay the roll-out of the highly anticipated return of the Ford Bronco SUV, which was set to begin production in December, but now won’t start until February.

Other high-profile delays of production, according to LMC, include these:

• Nissan Frontier: from April 2020 to April 2021.

• Acura MDX: from May to October.

• Ford Mustang Mach-E: from July to September.

• Toyota Sienna 500B: from July to September.

• Cadillac Escalade: from July to August.