My Bronco was built on the worst day of the year

“In his 1971 book Wheels, Arthur Hailey claims that cars that were primarily assembled on a Monday or Friday would suffer from quality problems due to worker performance/absenteeism issues associated with those days”[1]. By that reasoning, one would want a Tuesday or a Wednesday made vehicle. Studies have shown those to be the most productive days of the work week.

The good news is that, after it was scheduled to be built in the week of November 15th, 2021, my Bronco has been finally built. And, it was build on a Wednesday! Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t built on Wednesday, November 17th. It seems as though the factory was running a week late. My Bronco was instead built on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021.

The thing is that this is the one Wednesday of the year that’s worse for productivity than any Friday. It was the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving break. Anyone who’s ever had job in an industry other than retail knows that absolutely nothing gets done on that day.

There is, however, good news! Mr. Hailey’s book was a bunch of fictional bullshit. So was the auto factory-centered movie GungHo, which was a great comedy but otherwise totally absurd. While some old tales may have some merit, modern manufacturing and QA/QC standards have pretty much negated any from issues associated with worker performance or absenteeism.

But manufacturing issues still occur. But rather than being workmanship issues, they are mostly part or design issues. For instance, a non-compliant batch of parts could have been installed on some vehicles. These could be bolts, adhesives, sensors, anything, really. Most other issues are design issues. This is where the correct parts were installed but the parts themselves were poorly designed. Or perhaps the installation procedure was wrong, a torque spec, for instance.

That said, quality issues can still occur on any product. There are cases of a Wrangler shipped with two different colored fenders. The new Bronco isn’t completely off the hook either. Earlier this year a Bronco was shipped with mismatched seats.

Fun fact:

On May 1, 1926, Ford Motor Company becomes one of the first companies in America to adopt a five-day, 40-hour week for workers in its automotive factories. The policy would be extended to Ford’s office workers the following August.

My Bronco is scheduled to arrive at my dealership in the second week of December. I am confident that despite its production date, everything will be absolutely fine. That said, I’ll triple check everything before taking delivery like I would have on any car purchase. I can’t wait to get it.


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6 responses to “My Bronco was built on the worst day of the year”

  1. OA5599 Avatar

    I have never worked in the auto industry, but I do have considerable experience in manufacturing. Various subassemblies need to be ready prior to final assembly, and those would have been prepared several weeks or months ago. So, for example, if there is a flaw in a cylinder head casting, that would have been a mistake made before the cylinder head was shipped from the foundry, then assembled with the valve gear, which would have been before the engine was assembled and test-fired, which would have been before it was installed into the chassis.

    November 24 was the day on which the final OK stamp was issued. But the wiring harness was probably assembled by someone with a Halloween hangover (that was a Monday!), and the transfer case was probably machined by someone not too happy to show up after a long Labor Day weekend.

    The big downside, of course, is that whoever did affix that final seal of approval was probably someone without enough seniority to take the whole week off…

    1. Kamil Kaluski Avatar
      Kamil Kaluski

      Phew, that’s a relief!

  2. outback_ute Avatar

    My father’s previous car had a mis-matched seatbelt – 3 red ones and one black – wasn’t picked up in dealer pre-delivery either. At least it was hard to dispute and easy to fix.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      It’s funny how these obvious things manage to slip through at all at several stages of the quality control process. Probably doesn’t happen often, but every single issue will be remembered for a lifetime. I guess the car with the one odd seatbelt does come up in family gatherings from time to time?

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        When I was in elementary school, my dad’s car had most of a pack of ballpoint pens upholstered into the underside of the driver’s seat. They were up against the framework, so nothing anyone could feel while sitting in the seat, and they weren’t visible unless you were on the left rear footwell. My sister and I made a small incision in the material (which was more like high-grade burlap and not the same quality as the material on the visible surfaces of the upholstery) and would occasionally manipulate the pens to push one through the opening so that we could write with it. We always wondered whether someone in the seating department ever wondered why they lost all their pens.

      2. outback_ute Avatar

        No actually, very much an empty nest car so I don’t think more than a couple of people would have ever sat in the back seat. He traded a couple of years ago on a Stinger.