By on December 30, 2015

Classic Bronco Year Unknown Two

Ford is bringing back the Bronco. This is not a fantasy. It is not a request. And although our friends in Dearborn are not ready to talk about it, we do not need their official confirmation to see why a genuine Bronco will be back in showrooms in as few as 24 months.

The return of the Bronco starts with the incredible emphasis Ford places on its leadership in trucks, which secured the company’s survival through the great recessions and have enabled Ford’s return to profitability. The Bronco may not be a truck, but its return is inextricably linked with the parallel stories of the returning Ranger and the evolution in SUV buying patterns.

DOTJ-72BroncoTan-07

The Bronco’s First 30 Years

The Bronco was Ford’s answer to the Jeep CJ-5 and International Scout. These were spartan utility vehicles nearer in design philosophy to farm implements than to the multi-use off-road capable SUVs we know today.

At the time of the original Bronco’s development, Ford declined the opportunity to position it against the up-market Jeep Wagoneer, which had been introduced in 1963, and the Chevrolet Suburban, which had gained a 4×4 option in 1962. However, in 1969, the Chevrolet Blazer showed up on a full-size truck platform and, within four years, outsold the aging Bronco two-to-one. In 1974, Dodge joined the party with the full-size Ramcharger. And in 1978, Ford finally followed the competition up-market, moving the Bronco away from it’s CJ-fighting roots and into the full-size sport utility segment. This transition left Jeep’s CJ essentially alone to develop the utilitarian end of the SUV spectrum.

The triumvirate of full-size two-door SUVs — Bronco, Blazer/Jimmy, and Ramcharger — had the market largely to themselves from the late 1970s into the 1980s, but in 1984 the four-door Jeep Cherokee was introduced, setting the stage for significant growth and change in the SUV market. By 1991, Bronco sales struggled to reach 25,000 units and the Blazer was in its final year of production. Consumers wanted mid-size four-door SUVs. The Ford Explorer, launched in 1991, exemplified the shift. More than 280,000 Explorers were sold in its second year, growing to more than 400,000 by 1996. The full-size two-door SUV was dead. As each manufacturer updated their full-size truck platforms, their two-door full-size SUV platform mates ceased to exist.

Meanwhile, the plucky Wrangler that started as the 60 horsepower winner of a U.S. Army design competition in 1940, has evolved into the brand-building Wrangler. The Toyota Land Cruiser J40, after years of anemic sales, left the North American market in 1983. The Suzuki Samurai averaged 20,000 units during its ten years, but departed in 1995. Jeep offered the only continuously available utility SUV. By 2000, Jeep was rewarded with sales of 65,000 to 95,000 Wranglers a year. The Wrangler has remained a uniquely low-priced, unrefined halo upon which the modern Jeep brand has been built.

Jeep’s prescient 2007 Wrangler redesign changed everything with five additional inches of girth and two more doors. The brilliance of Jeep’s redesign became apparent as the economy transitioned out of the Great Recession. In 2015, Jeep will sell 225,000 Wranglers in North America, 70 percent of which will have four doors. Jeep has single-handedly developed a thriving market segment that now has Ford’s undivided attention.

2011 Ford Ranger

Ranger

Many remember the death of the Ranger in 2011. After 28 years and seven million units, Ford killed its beloved truck for two reasons.

First, the compact pickup segment was in decline and Ranger sales were tracking down with it. By the time the decision was made to let the Ranger go, the entire segment absorbed fewer trucks than the Ranger sold alone ten years prior. When the great recession hit, one may have expected the budget priced Ranger to stage a comeback. However, in 2009, sales tumbled 25 percent to just 76,000 units in North America.

Second, in 2011, Ford transitioned the Ranger’s platform mate, Explorer, to a unibody architecture. The Explorer’s new layout was ideal for a CUV, but is not well suited for the payload, towing, and perception requirements of truck buyers. To deliver a replacement Ranger in 2011, a new compact truck program would have been required no later than 2008, right when Ford was mortgaging itself in anticipation of the looming recession. Consequently, the last Ranger drove out of the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in December 2011.

One of the first public indications that Ford planned to reintroduce the Ranger came in the summer of 2015. In July, the company announced the departure of the Focus and C-Max from the Michigan Assembly Plant. Ford insisted that the Wayne, Michigan plant would not close, but also declined to identify what it planned to manufacture there. Speculation inevitably surfaced, but few of the alternatives proffered offer the volume necessary to optimize the 4,000 employee facility.

Ford’s decision to resurrect the Ranger likely came in 2012 or 2013 when the market was in sustained recovery and the company had matched production capacity with consumer demand. However, the 2009 decision to develop the all new, aluminum-intensive F-Series was consuming Ford’s capital and engineering talent. The new F-150 left little room for a new Ranger program, but by November 2014 — when the first aluminum bodied F-150s began rolling out of the Dearborn Truck Plant — Ford’s product development people were in transition to the new Ranger program. And if there were any doubt as to the wisdom of the Ranger’s return, those concerns have been laid to rest by GM’s successful reintroduction of its Colorado/Canyon twins, combined with explosive growth in the compact pickup segment.

The Next Bronco

About two years ago, Ford recognized the unique confluence of events that make the next Bronco essentially inevitable.

First, the risk of entering the utility end of the SUV market has been reduced by the emergence of the Wrangler, its easily deconstructed formula for success, and the fact that the segment contains just one direct competitor.

Second, the significant investment required to develop and produce a new Bronco is moderated by amortizing product development cost across two vehicles.

Third, the marketing challenge is mitigated because not only does Ford possess an iconic badge for the new product, but the new SUV will represent minimal overlap with Ford’s current product range.

The Ranger is the right platform mate for the Bronco for several reasons: It offers an ideal layout, is appropriate sized, facilitates a removable top design, and enables the Ranger itself.

The Ranger and Bronco are ideal platform mates because both products share the need for a rugged architecture. The shared platform will be a body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive design capable of supporting durability, payload, and towing requirements in excess of what the Bronco would independently demand.

The Bronco needs to be mid-size SUV, like the Wrangler. The full-size SUV segment is the only SUV segment in decline — and it’s small, totaling just 270,000 units versus the mid-size segment’s 1.9 million. The global Ranger T6, the nearest stand-in for the new Ranger, sits 73.2 inches wide, less than a half inch narrower than the 2015 Wrangler. If Ford continues its well-established trend toward global architectures, the next Ranger will not only underpin the Bronco, it will also replace the T6. Sharing the Ranger platform helps ensure the new Bronco hits the the market sweet spot in terms of size and price.

The Bronco is ideally suited to share a platform with the Ranger because of the development of the platform itself. Developing a shared platform from the outset with both a pickup and a removable top SUV as its internal customers is a winning strategy. Not only are the development costs amortized over more units, but the quality of the solution is improved. In the absence of this shared development, the Bronco business case would have been radically altered. For example, the F-150 platform was never intended to telescope down to Ranger size and an all new Bronco-only platform would have been cost prohibitive.

The Ranger needs the Bronco as much as the Bronco needs the Ranger. The new Ranger cannot drive sufficient demand to efficiently support the 4,000 jobs Ford has committed to protect at Michigan Assembly. Plant capacity is likely around 240,000 units a year and closer to 300,000 when production is optimized. The math does not work without a new Bronco. For example, the compact pickup market would need to continue expanding beyond this year’s 380,000 units and return to its 2002-2006 levels, averaging 575,000 units a year. Then, the Ranger would need to regain 90 percent its historic 30-percent share, an aggressive assumption for a product that will have been absent from the market for more than six years. Even assuming these lofty assumptions, Ford would find new homes for perhaps 150,000 units per year.

Estimating Bronco demand is more challenging. Historic Bronco sales are not instructive and the Wrangler is the lone competitor in the segment. However, Jeep’s only sales constraint is itself. Jeep has not satisfied customer demand for Wranglers in at least three years. That is why FCA has prioritized a multi-billion dollar investment to update the Wrangler and expand production capacity. A well-executed Bronco will expand the mid-size utility SUV segment, just as the Colorado and Canyon have expanded the compact pickup segment. Therefore, addressing Bronco demand may not be as insightful as simply asking how many Broncos Ford can make. Assuming initial demand for Ranger reaches 150,000 units, Ford can produce about 150,000 Broncos. Neither the Bronco, nor the Ranger, can fill Michigan Assembly alone, but as a platform share they are an ideal match.

What To Expect

A new Bronco must meet a variety of internal Ford prerequisites and external regulatory mandates. These fundamental requirements will dictate the Bronco’s layout, architecture, performance, and capabilities.

A Bronco without a removable top does not a Bronco make. A removable top is necessary both to differentiate the product from the rest of the Ford range as well as to attract new customers. In recent years, the Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser were the most credible Wrangler competitors. These alternatives had advantages, but they wanted for one pivotal, instantly recognizable feature that ultimately contributed their their cancellations: removable tops.

The Bronco has had two distinctly different removable tops. The original was fully removable, much like the current Wrangler, and was available from the factory in hard and soft versions. From 1978 onward, a fixed roof over the cab was available in conjunction with a removable hard-top over the rear. Consumer awareness of the Bronco probably favors the first generation with its fully removable tops, though a certain full-size white Bronco with a partially removable top remains seared in the public consciousness. Regardless, it’s challenging to quantify the demand impact of a new Bronco with a fully removable top versus one with a partially removable top like the one driven by Al Cowlings. We can, however, qualify that only a vehicle with some form of removable top can rightly be christened a Bronco. We will leave it to Ford to research consumer preferences and balance them with the engineering trade-offs to isolate the best removable top solution.

Off-road capability must be baked into the Bronco. Ford will seek out Bronco-versus-Wrangler comparisons, thus it must provide a range of Broncos that both look the part, like a Wrangler Sport, and are the real-deal, like the Wrangler Rubicon. Working from the rugged body-on-frame architecture shared with the Ranger will make the task relatively easy. No, the Bronco will not have a solid front axle, and it may not offer a leaf sprung rear suspension or perhaps even a solid rear axle, but this hardware is no longer required to achieve supreme off-road performance and durability. Ford has demonstrated an understanding of the off-road market and an ability to not only meet, but exceed, expectations with the Raptor. The next Bronco may not share the Raptor’s high speed mission, but Ford clearly has both the capability and the willingness to execute a genuinely capable off-road SUV. Ford will offer a Rubicon fighting Bronco.

A removable top, up-sized tires, and the short front and rear overhangs associated with a genuine off-roader will help visually differentiate the Bronco from other Ford SUVs. An additional differentiating factor will be its design. It will tend toward the use of utilitarian, purposeful styling queues, little of which will be shared with the Ranger. And it probably won’t drive like Ford’s other SUVs. But the Wrangler demonstrates unequivocally that quiet on-road driving comfort is not a critical purchase factor for consumers in this segment.

Other important factors are less visible. For example, Ford must consider Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). The current standards calculate targeted fuel economy for light trucks based on a footprint formula, wheelbase multiplied by track (How CAFE Killed Compact Trucks And Station Wagons). The smaller the vehicle’s footprint, the higher its targeted fuel economy. This method of regulation offers face validity, but in practice has encouraged manufacturers to develop larger vehicles as they make achieving the CAFE target easier. Ford can keep the platform relatively small and find ways to achieve the more challenging fuel economy target, or edge toward a larger product that makes it easier to satisfy CAFE targets.

Ford must differentiate the Ranger from the F-150, so up-sizing Ranger to ease CAFE compliance is not an option. In fact, if Ford were unable to deliver the Ranger at a size small enough to minimize the cannibalization of F-150 sales, it would not make a new Ranger at all. Ford will therefore leverage its hard-won, unsurpassed expertise in aluminum in the Ranger/Bronco platform. Today’s F-150 SuperCrew short bed 4×4 weighs weighs about 5,000 pounds — strikingly close to a similarly configured Ranger T6 with a 3.2-liter diesel at 4,900 pounds. This is particularly shocking given that the F-150 footprint is a full 20 percent larger than the Ranger. Ford will need to shave a similar 10-12 percent off the Ranger’s weight. When it does, it will go a great distance toward both CAFE compliance and Ford’s claim on truck leadership.

The Ranger will benefit Ford in ways beyond amortizing Bronco development costs and its own sales. It will extend Ford’s already powerful network effect, which dictates that the wider and deeper a product range, the more likely a company is to retain customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in the commercial market, but is also valid in retail trucks and SUVs. The value Ford places in the network effect was exemplified by their introduction of the Transit Connect in 2009. The Transit Connect has been a success, with sales posting incremental annual gains. But even its record 54,000 units this year do not make it an independent home run. The Transit Connect contributes to keeping customers in the Ford ecosystem, and it played a role in the unqualified success of the Econoline to Transit transition. The Ranger, at its worst, will extend the same influence.

Part of the Ranger’s historic appeal was its class leading availability of cab, bed, and drivetrain configurations. Unlike Toyota and GM, Ford may elect to retain a regular cab option. Not only would this provide Ford with a cab not available elsewhere in the market, but its wheelbase, in short bed form, may be shared with a two-door Bronco. Ford will match the Ranger’s competition with extended and crew cab configurations, as well as a pair of bed lengths. And somewhere among these combinations will be a Ranger wheelbase that supports a four-door Bronco. Seventy percent of Wranglers sold are Unlimited four-door models, meaning the Bronco will be available in both two and four-door versions.

The Ranger and Bronco will be available with three, and perhaps four, shared engine choices. If the Ranger were produced today, the base engine would likely be the 170 horsepower 2.5-liter Duratec, already employed in the Ranger T6. Two potential upgrade candidates include the 282 horsepower normally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 and the 325 horsepower 2.7-liter Ecoboost V-6. Both engines are segment competitive and presently available in the F-150. Ford is certain to offer at least one Ecoboost in the Ranger, making the 3.7-liter V-6 the odd-engine out if four engines choices are too many.

Ford will offer its North American customers one diesel. It may not be available at launch, but GM’s twins are available in diesel, as will be the next Wrangler. The leading diesel option from Ford’s current product portfolio is the 350 lb-ft 3.2-liter unit offered in the North American Transit as well as the Ranger T6, but Ford may develop a more competitive alternative for torque-war-torn North America.

Based on recent Ford announcements, the F-150 will receive an electric drivetrain of unknown configuration by model year 2020. This move suggests the Ranger may also receive electric or hybrid running gear, which may be ideal for some urban-centric municipal and commercial customers. The same alternative power source may or may not make its way into the Bronco.

Reasons to Believe

Aside from the numerous practical reasons already enumerated here, there are at least three more reasons Blue Oval watchers can be confident the company will responsibly resurrect the Bronco nameplate.

Ford has launched multiple SUVs over the last 15 years, yet in the absence of the right product has demonstrated no appetite to leverage the Bronco legacy. Ford has not botched a new truck or SUV in many years. And Ford already has a comprehensive SUV/CUV lineup. From the Escape to the Expedition, there are no significant weak points. Ford will therefore revive the Bronco only as a well-differentiated product designed to find new customers.

Automakers, like other consumer goods producers, are their brands. For example, Nike revived the bankrupt Converse shoe brand by making more traditional Converse shoes, not Converse branded penny loafers, wingtips, or high heals. Likewise, Ford will not attach the Bronco name to a fixed-top penny-loafer-SUV.

The SUV tide will continue rising and Ford will sell as many or more Broncos as it will Rangers. The Bronco will also command higher average transaction prices than the Ranger. At the top of the Bronco range, particularly if Ford Performance Vehicles is invited to the party, Ford will acquire yet another aspirational vehicle. Ford may even elect to launch the Bronco before it introduces the new Ranger.

The North American Wrangler franchise is now worth nearly a quarter-million vehicles and seven billion dollars annually, all uncontested. What’s past is prologue. Ford will enter the utility SUV segment once again to do battle with the Jeep.

As Mike Levine, Ford’s Truck Communications Manager, recently reminded me, “We don’t comment on future products.” Regardless, we know what is coming and why. Get your carports, driveways, two-tracks, and campsites ready — a new Bronco is on the way.

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114 Comments on “All Signs Point to Bronco and Here’s Why...”


  • avatar
    DeeDub

    So more of a return of the Bronco II than of the Bronco.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s not going to be a full size Bronco, but the Bronco was originally a compact SUV. Also, unlike Broncos in the past, it will have four doors. I disagree with Seth and wouldn’t expect a two door version.

      Think it as a Wrangler fighter using the Bronco name and possibly evoking styling cues from the original.

      • 0 avatar
        Seth Parks

        Agreed, the two-door version is in question. I speculate than given the sunk-costs associated with the Ranger+Bronco, Ford will go ahead and develop the two-door Bronco and grab those additional sales. But I undoubtedly agree that if they were to eliminate one iteration it would be the two-door.

        • 0 avatar

          I have a 2-door JK Wrangler and it looses to 4-door version in every practical respect. Access to rear seat is difficult if you want to drop a bag there, the fuel tank is smaller, the 10-ft Christmas tree does not fit inside. The only real advantage of 2-door is being more fun. Also, the hardtop weighs a bit less and is easier to remove, and the ramp or break-over angle is greater. The first of these is a non-issue because the hardtop is awkward enough to require a hoist anyway. The second is addressed with a well-designed lift for the 4-door version. So, just fun, then.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bball,
        I can’t really see Ford making a true Wrangler fighter.

        As for the styling of the vehicle it isn’t that hard to re form the skin. This is a very common practice. There is only so much you can do with a SWB and the ability to maintain a realistic aerodynamic profile without adversely affecting FE.

        The Ranger/Everest are expensive platforms to start out with. Lots of development money has been spent on this platform.

        I do envisage the Bronco as a pseudo Explorer, only slightly smaller.

        I would be prepared to bet the Bronco name will be used and the vehicle will not be in anyway similar to the original intent of the Bronco.

        Toyota with it’s SUV platforms have only achieved very little. A classic example is the Prado, 70 Series and FJ Cruiser. The FJ Cruiser is the cheap option and it started out at a price point higher than the Wrangler.

        Even the wheel base on the Everest is around one foot shorter than the Ranger. The Ranger without an extended wheelbase option will find it awkward to meet CAFE, I can’t see how a Bronco will even come close. Unless there are changes coming to CAFE.

        Like the Colorado/Canyon I do think the Bronco will be an Amercianised variant of the Everest. Some different styling ques, available in 2WD for the wanna be SUV driver.

        There is a hole in Ford’s US lineup for a decent FJ Cruiser/4 Runner competitor and the Ranger. Both of these vehicles together would possibly guarantee Ford a financially viable product. Why? Because all of the heavy lifting has been already done in design and engineering. It would be a cheap(est way) vehicle to adapt to the US market.

        The US likes it’s pickups and SUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well Ford has purchased Wrangler Unlimiteds and Wrangler Unlimited Rubicons, is benchmarking them, and is shooting for best in class capabilities. I don’t know what to tell you. Multiple people have also told me that they are, “Going after the four door Wrangler.” It is not going to be an Americanized Everest (even if it’s roughly the same size as the Everest). It will share things with both the Ranger and Everest, but you are making it too simplistic.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Sounds to me like a return of the original compact BOF Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        You could look at it that way. However, Ford has been benchmarking the Wrangler Rubicon. Ford is looking to exceed the performance of that trim in some Broncos. So I would say that this will be more offroad focused than the original Explorer.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Sounds like the Everest for NA

  • avatar

    There’s also an OJ Simpson special coming to TV. Must be some sort of anniversary or something.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    “Ford will offer a Rubicon fighting Bronco”

    This is pure awesome, particularly if Toyota responds with a compact SUV Taco.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Toyota responds with a compact SUV Taco”

      You mean the 4Runner? Although it’d be neat to see a lighter, more basic variant of that.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        “Although it’d be neat to see a lighter, more basic variant of that.”

        Yep gtmnykh, that’s exactly what I mean. Smaller, lighter, more basic.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          It’s pretty eye opening that since my generation of 4Runner, almost a full 1000lb of curb weight has been gained (3750lb to 4700ish). Having said that, the newest trucks are still a very manageable size and the wheelbase has been kept nearly the same. They’re substantially wider and taller, to the relief of the people that ride inside. My 4Runner feels significantly narrower than my Civic inside!

      • 0 avatar

        I’d love it if they brought back the circa 1985 two-door with the removable hardtop.

        With better rustproofing, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      thelaine,
      The current Ranger would make Rubicon.

      I have driven my BT50 up steep rocky grades that even Patrols and Landcruisers didn’t make.

      There are two downsides to the Ranger platform off roading, the first is the IFS and the second is length of the pickups.

      I do have around three inches of lift with my tyres and ARB/Old Man Emu suspension, but I would still like more. But the IFS limits my lift to two inches.

      Unless the Bronco must have a live front axle. And you must agree Wrangler’s Quadralink front end is good for off road work.

      As an aside there is a problem with the horn on the Ranger/BT50s. Because they must now be designed to telescope and fold under the vehicle there is a lot of flex in the chassis from the centre of the front axle forward to the bumper bar (these are actually hidden behind the front spoiler).

      People have been fitting bullbars with winches on the Ranger/BT50s and the bonnet (hood) latch has been failing due to the load of the chassis, bull bar and winch being placed on the latch.

      Also the load has been transferring from the front hood latch to the inner guards and they crack over the front axle down. I have witnessed this in a Ranger from a guy at work. Ford would not pay for the repairs, which where quite expensive from the hood smashing the roof and windscreen (windshield), cracked inner guard, hood of course and attaching hardware.

      Ford’s fix was quite incredibly simple and stupid. The added a doubler to the hood latch! So, the hood will not flick back, but the load is not transferred directly to the inner guard! Stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Why is it so fncking hard to use this TTAC site. When I type it’s around half a sentence behind, or what I have typed doesn’t work!

        When you hit submit there are all these fncking files being loaded!

        The files generally come up on the bottom left above my toolbar. When I place my cursor above the file the file flicks over to the right of my screen. I managed to open one of these files and it was loading a massive amount of articles from TTAC going back to 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        What the fnck is wrong with this site. Isn’t there some IT experts in the Canada??????????

        This has been going on now for some time and all we here is “We are working on it”. Does TTAC employ civil servants?????????

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Are you using a mobile browser? I hate using TTAC on a mobile device.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            I’m on the net using Google.

            I’d like to know what changes were made to WordPress. I also see a lot of “graphic” files come up.

            I’m wonder if the template TTAC is using is allowing the site to be bugged with the disruption through the graphics.

            When I was working writing reference material and precis writing (yes! you wouldn’t think so) we were using MS Word in conjunction with Corel for graphics. This caused much and many issues.

            Also our file size for Word back then was huge and the files became unstable. We had files up to 35 meg in Word!

            Using TTAC now reminds me of those olden days.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        @Big Al

        Thank you for the info on the Ranger from a hard core off road perspective. Most people do not take a vehicle where you and I do. I don’t “rock crawl” or off-road for recreation, but I hunt and fish in areas that are very challenging to access on narrow mountain roads. I will eventually buy a suitable vehicle, as I am currently making due with a modified Dodge 4 door long bed! It is very useful because of the space, but is quite a handful on mountain trails, especially when things get muddy. It can be terrifying due to the weight alone, not to mention the size, but you go with what you got. I need something a lot smaller with maximum off-road capability.

        I “want” a Wrangler, but refuse to buy one due to the combination of price and lack of reliability. If it was really bulletproof, I would go for it, but I am not going to spend that kind of money on a vehicle which I consider to be slapped together. Several of my friends have them, and they just have too many problems. I have considered a Taco as an alternative and I am curious how you would compare the Hilux (I know, it is not a Taco and I can’t buy one) to the Ranger in this off-road application. The Hilux has quite a reputation for dependability.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          I guess I am confused about the ‘reliability’ you mention of a Wrangler.
          I have an 08′ 6 MT. No issues, 80k on the clock, call it 19 mpg or slightly better average (not great but not horrific IMHO).

          The only people I know who have had issues are the ones who, knowingly, abuse them in the mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      I think it was called the FJ, and it kinda flopped.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      2 dumb questions:

      How does Jeep produce all those Wranglers under CAFE rules? If Jeep can do it, why can’t Ford?

      Why can’t there be super-stout unibodies? Why couldn’t additional U-channel structure be full-length to create a unibody/frame hybrid? Is it just a macho perception thing?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        First: CAFE is Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The Jeep can get 18 MPG as long as something else gets better to make up for that. Even then, it barely squeaks by, and major changes will have to be made to meet the 2017 and 2025 standards.

        Second: What you’re describing is (I think?) what happened with the Comanche.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        U-channel, or actually a hat shaped channel, that runs the full length of the body is the norm for the unibodies of today and when they first started making unibodies. It was just the smaller vehicles that dropped that design for a number of years and went with stubs in the front and sometimes rear.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Actually this is similar to the Camaro returning ti it’s roots. A simple design, that might possibly work. The second gen Bronco was a huge, gas guzzling monster…it didn’t necessarily represent what the Broncos original mission was all about. This new Bronco just might do what the original was supposed to do. Give legitimate competition to the Wrangler.
    The Bronco II was a Explorer wannabe…similar to the 500 becoming the Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      kefkafloyd

      The Explorer replaced the Bronco II, the models were not sold side-by-side as current models.

      Same with the Expedition replacing the full-sized Bronco.

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        Yea I know. The Bronco II was the first attempt at a smaller utility…it just lacked the additional doors.
        I am also aware of the Expedition replacing the second gen Bronco. I lived through it all, and remember it quite well. I never said any were sold side by side…except in transition.
        The later Bronco II even has a similar front end as the Explorer.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Use of the term “wannabe” implies that the Bronco II came after the Explorer, which is where the confusion comes from. A better wording would be to say the Bronco II was a “proto-Explorer.”

          • 0 avatar
            kmars2009

            Chronologically I suppose you might have a point. My olny use of “wannabe” was because the eggheads at Ford couldn’t think “Explorer” instead using Bronco II. Much like they referred to the updated Fox sedan as LTD, and Panther as LTD Crown Victoria..Instead of something like the updated Granada. Ford was trying so hard to make new designs (Thunderbird ’83) that they were flopping on decent names. The “Explorer” at that time was a trim package on a F150. So obvious now…but there we have it.
            So yes…the Bronco II wanted to be the Explorer…Ford Execs just weren’t on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Remember that the Bronco II’s main competitor was the S-10 Blazer, so it’s not like there was much imagination there either.

            The Fox-body LTD replaced both the Granada and the Fairmont, and I think both had too many “old-school” connotations for Ford. Still doesn’t explain why they had to change the full-size LTD to LTD Crown Victoria. Why not just “Crown Victoria” by itself?

  • avatar
    balreadysaid

    K-eep
    I-t
    S-mall
    S-tupid

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Upside-down CAFE regs won’t let them. If it were small it would have to meet fuel economy levels unrealistic for a BOF vehicle. Expect something around the size of the Wrangler Unlimited or the 4Runner.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The only way (I think) you can get away with having a SWB BOF vehicle is to increase the footprint by widening the track. And then you’ve lost any advantages from being a narrow vehicle.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Quite the word torrent for something that’s as niche as a Miata.

    Clearly there will be *some* passionate buyers for a few months.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If they do it right, and the people I know that are working on the Bronco do it right, Ford will sell enough of these to make it well worth their time.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Do you have some legitimate inside information that goes beyond the media speculation?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Yes. I won’t get to deep into it but the Bronco is being worked on. They aren’t cutting tooling or anything for it but it is a planned product with people working on it. Obviously, the upcoming Expedition/Navigator and Explorer/Aviator are more important. It’s early enough in the process that Ford could kill it though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ll take your word for it, and add that I don’t think that this is a great use of resources when they already have other CUV/SUVs in the lineup.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I tend to agree with you, even though I’d like a Bronco. I’d still probably buy a different Ford SUV, so that doesn’t really help Ford.

            I also think it isn’t a coincidence that this is happening after Alan Mulally left.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I also think it isn’t a coincidence that this is happening after Alan Mulally left.”

            Took the words right out of my mouth.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            There are lots of insiders that see this product onslaught as a bad sign. Lots of excitement internally, but is it the right thing to do?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If the R&D can produce global or semi-global products with some scale and is distinctive enough that it doesn’t conflict with the current lineup, then it might be manageable.

            Otherwise, it sounds like an exercise in cannibalization and old-GM-style laziness. If they want to sell more crossovers, then they should figure out how to broaden the appeal of existing models instead of creating entirely different ones. It’s a particularly bad idea if the platforms of the new vehicles can’t be shared.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford needs to figure out what to do with Flex buyers if they do kill the Flex. It’s transaction prices are super high, it has a loyal following, does well in California, and it conquested a bunch of customers. Can the next Explorer fill that void? Does Ford need to replace it with a Flex that is on the CD4 platform?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I’m assuming it won’t be BOF? What kind of towing capacity do you expect? I find it amazing that you know more ab my own company than I do (granted, I am no longer on the ‘Dearborn’ side).

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ll know more about the Explorer next week. I’m going to Ford’s auto show dry run on the 10th and should be able to talk to a few people at the bar afterwards. Derek was right about the Explorer, it won’t be BOF.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            What about the Ranger and Bronco? BOF? I remember the last canceled midsized truck was supposed to be a variant of the P415 frame. The recession killed that along with a diesel U22X.

            Edit: Derek had some crazy inside info. He broke the Continental years ago. He had some good sources ab the GT. Great journalism.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ranger and Bronco are BOF. It’s T6 based, but the Bronco isn’t simply a shortened Everest/Ranger with a cap. It’ll be differentiated. I have no idea about the Bronco tow rating, but the Ranger would have parity with or exceed the Colorado (7000+ lbs).

            Derek did have excellent inside info. Like really high up sources. If I ever talked to him about something, he’d be able to verify it with someone almost instantaneously with a number of people.

          • 0 avatar
            faygo

            @tresmonos :

            “Derek had some crazy inside info. He had some good sources ab the GT. Great journalism.”

            huh ? his sources lead him to write this :
            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/housekeeping-clickbait-wish-fulfillment-ford-gt/ which he later backed away from when it became clearer that the program was actually something.

            there were _lots_ of people at rather high levels within the company (even in product planning) who didn’t even know the program existed, so I don’t blame him for hearing what he was told, but it was amusing from the inside looking out to watch it take place.

            Marshall Pruett connected the dots correctly and went with his story. lacking anything original, everyone else ran with what they could come up with (make up) as Derek noted, with unsurprising results.

            lots of interesting assumptions here, some well founded, some not so much. we shall all see what’s what, when it’s something.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            faygo:
            He broke all kinds of info. That GT piece sparked one of his sources shedding an internal look that no one else reported of the development of the GT. his genius was the network he had. He literally trolled other sources to give his readers something no other online journalist has: a real time point and counterpoint filled with insight that hasn’t captivated me anywhere else since.

            After the fact, Raj Nair spoke more specifically about its development but I’m guessing we got that seeing Derek already spilled the beans before Ford’s PR group could even draft a release.

            There were a few weeks where I was glued to TTAC throughout his tenure because of the crazy journalism and because of the insiders that came out of the woodwork in the B&B. For f*cks sake, we all learned exactly why Mazda lagged on pretreat and rust protection for so long if we all were paying attention.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            $hit, Derek had so much info before anyone else. Example: Jalopnik and others are talking about a hybrid a V6 diesel F150 now like it’s breaking. Derek had that in 2013. He got shot down by other places when he broke it too. Unfortunately for him, he isn’t at TTAC for vindication. He likes his new gig, so that’s all that matters.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I saw that hybrid F150 article, too. During my last job, I’d ask some program management about what Derek was reporting. They would be stunned and ask me where I was hearing the info. It seems like whatever you know is now the bleeding edge of blog insider information.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My Ford circles run deep in Glass House! Started in high school when my good friend’s father was CEO of Lincoln (They had a way nicer house than we did). I’ve also worked at many Ford facilities and made friends at those sites. I get nervous about predicting things or talking about stuff because, as you know, things can always change. Derek was always able to confirm info I had and that was helpful. Once things go to tooling, like the aluminum Navigator/Expedition, I feel better. The Bronco is at the stage where it just exists on computers right now.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            If you come to Louisville for work, let me know. We’ll down a few beers and talk shop. I wish you had gotten a chunk of work here.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            There’s the mole! Get him!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wish I would have got that job too. Right now, I mostly do repair work on weekends and such. I have a regular full-time gig, but can work remotely. I miss being in factories on a regular basis.

            I have a buddy that I played high school basketball with in Louisville, so I need to get down there anyway. I’m hoping he gets a college basketball coaching gig so that I can be on his staff. Hahaha.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        And I would totally buy a new Bronco. Cheaper than the new U BOF SUV.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    When the idea of a new Ranger was first mentioned here at TTAC, I scoffed.

    But you’ve made a compelling argument for it, in that Ford would build the Ranger and Bronco on the same platform. Now I can see it happening.

    This sort of discussion is yet another reason why I come here.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The speculation originated with Automotive News.

      And it is just speculation. The media doesn’t know what will replace the Focus and C-Max production on the lines in Michigan and Ford has a Bronco concept, so they’re guessing based upon that.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I’m really hoping for a small diesel or Ecoboost Ranger, its about the only option for replacing my ’02 Dakota Quad Cab V8. I’m not a huge fan of the GM twins but I’m thankful they got the mid-size truck market going again. Full size trucks are just too darn big. I need something that fits in my garage but can actually tow.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      I personally see the Bronco as speculative, the Ranger more of a given.

      If the Wrangler was that easy a vehicle to challenge it would of been done before. I can’t see the Ranger platform being able to produce such an agricultural vehicle like the Wrangler, it’s one step above a farm implement.

      The Ranger will be a challenge for Ford with the aluminium F-150, unless Ford de-rate the Ranger to the point of making it near on useless. Then you might as well produce a Transit Connect pickup.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    “First, the risk of entering the utility end of the SUV market has been reduced by the emergence of the Wrangler, its easily deconstructed formula for success, and the fact that the segment contains just one direct competitor.”

    I disagree that the Wrangler’s formula for success is easily deconstructed. Take a picture of any model year Jeep and a Gen 1 Bronco. Go out and ask 100 random people what vehicle is pictured – 90+ will identify the Jeep, 10 will identify the Bronco. 30 will call the Bronco a Jeep. That’s what Ford is up against.

    Jeep has run a very odd history for the past 60 years, surviving from one bankruptcy to the next buyout. Part of the reason it has remained “unchanged” is that for the majority of its history the owners of the brand didn’t have enough money to change it. Ford, even with the legacy nameplate, just can’t offer the same history, recognition, or mystique.

    I really do hope they make a new Bronco. I think it will be an interesting new player. I just don’t see enough long-term buyers to keep it going. It will be the next FJ – bigger than expected, less interior that it should have for it’s size, >$30k in any configuration you’d actually want, and gone after 1 generation. ….and a complicated modern suspension will hamstring the aftermarket (lifeblood to the Jeep brand/lifestyle) making lifts and modifications prohibitively expensive. Oh, and it won’t come with a top that comes off.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Ford at best can only hope to lightly dent the Jeep legacy or mystique as you put it. The Bronco was in its later years in essence geared towards keeping the home team happy.

      By the way, the available aftermarket off-road lifts and mods for the Toyota Tacoma will empty you wallet pretty quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        bills79jeep

        Agreed, especially if you try and go beyond 3″ of lift and ~33″ tires. While I’m sure it inconveniences those who autocross their Wrangers, solid axles and simple suspension geometry allow for a full array of lift options. Getting up to 6″ of suspension lift is still fairly easy on a Wrangler. Heck, the 4 door has actually made that easier by lengthening the rear drive shaft.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “bigger than expected, less interior that it should have for it’s size, >$30k in any configuration you’d actually want, and gone after 1 generation. ….and a complicated modern suspension will hamstring the aftermarket (lifeblood to the Jeep brand/lifestyle) making lifts and modifications prohibitively expensive. Oh, and it won’t come with a top that comes off.”

      All of these things have a regulatory cause. All of them.

      (Except for the smaller-than-expected interior, which is inherent to BOF.)

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    It’s all well and nice to speculate what’s to come – but Ford already sells the T-6 Ranger in a country that is 200 miles south of me.

    I’ve noticed that ford.mx no longer lists a single cab, cabina regular, for 2016. This year only the Crew cab is offered with either a gasoline -or- diesel engine. The diesel option is for a small 2.2 4 cylinder.

    If the Ranger and Bronco come to the US, I hope that a 4×4 with the 2.7 Ecoboost is an option. The Raptor with the 6.2 was a nice truck, but way too thirsty and bulky for my needs.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The other player is the next Ford Everest. A BOF 3 row suv smaller than the Explorer that would compete with the 4Runner now that the Xterra is gone and the Pathfinder is a CUV. The Everest combined with the Bronco and the Ranger, will fill the plant. Everest allows the Bronco to compete directly with the Wrangler without having to get too luxurious

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I doubt we’ll see the Everest, but I would welcome it. The next Explorer is going to be RWD/AWD. I don’t know if they’ll want to add the Everest as well. It would be well after 2020 if it did happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I feel like some of the characteristics of the Everest will make it over to the Bronco (namely, that’s it’s Ranger-based), but definitely not the Everest itself.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Perhaps instead of the Everest, we will get an extended version as the Explorer. Makes sense to further the economies of scale rather than design a unique RWD platform just for the Explorer.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “Unlike Toyota and GM, Ford may elect to retain a regular cab option. Not only would this provide Ford with a cab not available elsewhere in the market, but its wheelbase, in short bed form, may be shared with a two-door Bronco.”

    I have to disagree with that. Such a short WB would mean it would have to get mid-30s highway, if I’m reading the CAFE regs right.

    “Ford will match the Ranger’s competition with extended and crew cab configurations, as well as a pair of bed lengths. And somewhere among these combinations will be a Ranger wheelbase that supports a four-door Bronco.”

    Then again, the current 4Runner has a WB almost identical to the recently departed regular cab Tacoma (109.8″ vs. 109.4″).

    “Seventy percent of Wranglers sold are Unlimited four-door models, meaning the Bronco will be available in both two and four-door versions.”

    If there will be a two-door Bronco (which I don’t think will happen), I believe it will have to share the WB of the four-door (think two-door vs. four-door XJ), and that WB would be about the same as the 4Runner–that is, longer than a two-door Wrangler but shorter than an Unlimited.

    For reference: The new T6 Ranger-based Everest has a WB of 2850 mm (112.2″) vs. the pickup’s 3226 mm (127.0″). The Colorado 7 or TrailBlazer has a WB of 2845 mm (112″) vs. the pickup’s 128.3″ (3259 mm).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This should be interesting. Though I’m a Chevy guy, I owned two Rangers – a 1983 and a 1996. The 1996 XLT was one of the best vehicles I have owned, so a new Bronco of some sort would be worth checking out if and when it becomes available.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I would say half of the reason that your 1996 Ranger was so robust and well made was because of the folks at Twin Cities Assembly. That vehicle had a tremendous production team and engineering support on site. That plant was probably Ford’s biggest blow to North America with respect to brain drain and skill loss.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I agree. Ford was able to keep a lot of people from Wixom and move them to other sites. They couldn’t do the same with Twin Cities.

        I had friends that left Wixom and had to slow down their speed elsewhere. Guys there worked quickly, efficiently, and were good at their jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        faygo

        best TCAP story I recall hearing was about the plant having a hard time figuring out how wheel/tire assemblies were being “lost” from inventory. as you know, regardless of the Johnny Cash song, it is not easy to carry out parts from a plant, especially with turnstiles everywhere, so say nothing of an whole tire. turned out someone was just pushing the wheel/tire assemblies out a door at the back of the plant somewhere and down the hill to the river, from which they were later retrieved.

        not quite like the convoy drivers at Michigan Truck driving Exp/Nav through the lot and out onto the street on the other side, but amusing in it’s brazenness.

        I have no doubt that what is noted about TCAP folks is true. having been through a lot of plants (though not for years) the difference in culture was striking. Lorain was freaking depressing as hell in the late 90s.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          That is hilarious. There was a pipe fitter who crafted an underground method to run diesel from flat top to the parking lot at a plant (that will remain nameless). God damned pipe fitters can’t do air leak PM’s to save their grandmothers life yet tango with the laws of physics to get a free tank of gas in their coal roller.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “turned out someone was just pushing the wheel/tire assemblies out a door at the back of the plant somewhere and down the hill to the river, from which they were later retrieved.”

          Considering how far above the the Mississippi river that plant sits, that seems pretty crazy.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I don’t think Lorain made very much after the MN12s stopped production in ’97, so I can imagine it was depressing.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 2006 XLT 4wd extended cab, in bright yellow. By far the most reliable vehicle I’ve owned. Also the easiest to find in parking lots… and to get pulled over in.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    This is pretty much the culmination of getting increasingly obese fullsize trucks shoved down our collective throats. People who weren’t compelled to get something equivalent to swatting a mosquito with a shotgun had been swarming to the warmed over leftovers from Toyota and Nissan (to a lesser extent). Then, apparently, once GM decided it was good enough to re-enter the “compact truck” market, Ford didn’t want to get left behind. I’m sure Ram will follow in due course with some FIAT truckster, since the automotive industry is full of copy cats that are just one step behind.

    So, whether it’s deliberate or not, fullsize trucks as we have come to know them are responsible for this segment becoming reinvigorated (to their detriment?). There’s always going to be a couple customers out there who aren’t interested in driving a Peterbilt for yard maintenance.

    P.S. Ford, bring back the 4.9 liter inline six. I know it’ll never happen, but if you did, even I could overlook my aversion to the blue oval.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Luckily, full-size pickup trucks hit the ceiling in about 2004, and won’t be getting any bigger except in the grille.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Also, Ford F-series trucks have been relatively the same size, length and width wise, for over 30 years.

        • 0 avatar
          GermanReliabilityMyth

          Fair enough, what about the other market offerings? I’m also curious about any changes in the DLO over the years. Between less vertical glass and a higher ride height (on average), driving a modern half ton can be rather cumbersome.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Cars have gotten big and heavy. There is no doubt about that. Crash safety, pedestrian safety, fuel economy, styling, and customers needs all go into what cars look like now, for better or for worse.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Width, definitely. Every full-size pickup hit 78″ wide in 1960 (GM) or ’61 (everyone else) and stayed there or only marginally increased to 80″, which is the max width without clearance lights.

          Length has increased both in the front overhang and WB, but rear overhang has decreased as the rear axle got pushed farther back so that the 3 “standard” configurations were on the same WB.

          Wheelbase has increased the most, but has also hit the “ceiling” of what is usable in a parking lot. A 2016 EC or CCSB Silverado has essentially the same WB as an ’88.

          Height seems to be mostly a matter of 4×2 vs. 4×4 vs. “offroad 4×4,” but I can’t make a much more informed observation given how scarce 4×2 pickups are in my area.

  • avatar
    George B

    If Ford sells a new Ranger and Bronco, I predict that both will be 4 door only and the Bronco will have some form of fixed top. No way Ford makes a short wheelbase narrow vehicle like the 1st generation Bronco after the Bronco II and Explorer rollover lawsuits. The CAFE footprint formula, approach/departure angles, and on-road stability requirements all suggest that the wheels will be pushed out to the corners of the vehicle. I agree that at least one of the engines will be an Ecoboost, but disagree about offering a diesel engine in the US. Ford will offer expensive Raptor-like halo versions of the Ranger and Bronco, but won’t directly compete with the Wrangler due to lack of aftermarket support.

  • avatar
    Shipwright

    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite. If these vehicles are going to be produced please, please, please give the Ranger a manual transmission and I promise to buy a new one.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      We’ve reached the point where a manual transmission provides no advantages over an automatic in either MPG or towing capacity. With that said, there’s still a chance they give the Ranger a stick just to undercut the Colorado on price and maintain the Ranger’s glorious tradition of fleet sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The fleet trucks are almost exclusively automatics, the fleets can be worried to hire people who actually know how to drive a manual and they certainly don’t want them learning on a company vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I think you meant to say “can’t be worried,” but yep. One summer job I had involved a Toro Workmaster with a 3-speed; only 3 or 4 of us could actually drive the thing. Think like a forward-control Gator.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    The Bronco, as you have laid it out here will not unset the Wrangler or even threaten it. The only way it will have a chance is if it looks totally different then the Ranger.

    If the Bronco looks like an SUV Ranger, it will fail to make a dent in Wrangler sales. It need to look different without falling into the current trend of FoMoCo’s Xerox machine and making vehicles look like they stole designs from Aston Martin (Fusion & other small cars) Ram (Ford F series), Bentley & Chrysler 300 (New Lincoln Continental).

    The Jeep Wrangler sells because it looks like nothing else out there. It’s instant identification (Even when FCA brings out the Pickup version).

    If they go kind of modern retro Bronco to start, they might have a chance.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do have some comments directed at Aaron. I do think some of your information is tainted and not quite accurate.

    1. Ford did not re-introduce the a new Ranger because it would of taken sales away from the new aluminium F-150. Ford has expended massive development money into the aluminium F-150 …………. and very importantly Thailand (more on this later).

    Ford in the early/mid 2000’s knew a new global Ranger was on the board.

    2. In 2009 it cost a staggering $3.5 billion to develop the Ranger/Everest/BT50 platform. Ford will want to value add on this as much as possible.

    3. Using the Ranger/Everest platform Ford can’t compete with the Wrangler, unless you end up with a very terrible vehicle. IFS?????

    4. If the US does get an Americanised variant of the Ranger/Everest it would come with the 3.2 diesel as the premium engine. I wouldn’t even count on a 2.5 in line four in the US market. An Everest/Wrangler would weigh 2 tons plus. For the base gas engine I would be looking at a 2.0 litre EcoBoost. A 2.7 Ecoboost would be fantastic, and I’d bet my balls (again) that Ford have a 2.7 EcoBoost Ranger on the board for the Australian market once the Ford Falcon ute is done and dusted next year.

    5. A Bronco will NOT be priced to compete with a Wrangler, anyone who thinks so is a dreamer. The cost of the Ranger is higher than the Colorado, new Navara, etc.

    6. CAFE will make it awkward to have a SWB Bronco. The Ranger is viable using the CAFE model.

    7. Your comment the Bronco needs the Ranger as much as the Ranger needs the Bronco is quite incorrect.

    Back in the early/mid 2000s when Ford came out with the idea for a Ranger the US and the Thai’s were in talks for a trade deal. The US was actually to recieve the Thai built Rangers. But the Thai government was ousted and replaced by the military and the FTA between the US and Thailand was put on hold.

    This is another important reason why the US doesn’t have a Ranger.

    The Ranger in the global market has outstripped Ford’s expectations in sales. The global market has absorbed what would of been US Rangers.

    Ford can use a platform similar to how Nissan used it’s FAlpha on the Navara, Pathfinder, Titan and Armada. This is possible. If you look at the front horn on the Ranger/BT50 chassis and the new aluminium F-150 chassis they do look exceptionally similar in size and design. Why would you change the front chassis, especially when the Ranger is one of the safest vehicles globally?

    I do think it’s viable to have a US Bronco, but not like the old or even as a direct Wrangler competitor. The Ranger will definitely be arriving.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    It will definately have a solid rear axle if Ford is serious, I hope this isn’t even a point of contention.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I wouldn’t be worried about this at all. Yes, the ’02 Explorer was the first of its kind to move to IRS, but that was part of an intentional move to distance it from its Ranger roots. Regardless of how much the Bronco does or doesn’t share with the new Ranger, SRA will be a definite yes. Even leaving out the Wrangler competition–what SUV based on a mid-size pickup doesn’t have an SRA?

      BTW, didn’t the H1 have IRS…?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I think we should set a benchmark for this bronco to be above a 4Runner, which in trail or especially the special version is pretty dang stout. The SRA should be a given, right beside a BOF construction, it’s DOA without those two components. My concern is the engine, a 2.7TT is not what I want 5 miles from civilization, and ford has no engine I would be comfortable in for the long haul. The 4.0L in the 4Runner, while tiny for my standards, and honestly lacking power to a degree(it’s really not that bad), is a gem that’s getting almost 20 MPG with only 3K on the odometer.

        I would rather see a wrangler competitor, but the realist in me wants to know if Ford is capable of even a 4Runner competitor.

        Regard to H1, yes, but it is incomparable in the civilian vehicle market, even the next best IRS in the civilian market cannot hold a candle to what’s going on under the AM Generals.
        Worlds apart, and not even worth using as an argument, doesn’t stop some people though, but you get the idea.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    The Explorer will be on the Everest platform soon enough.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Thorough case made for both the Ranger and Bronco from both the marketing and manufacturing perspective. Thank you! Now, I just hope that you’re right.

    If this story is true, count me in for both one Ranger and one Bronco. Seriously. Perpetual $500K Section 179 deductions now eliminates year-end guessing. Make them diesel-powered with three pedals and a six-speed gearbox. (That 3.2 5-cylinder PowerStroke is a delightful little engine in the Transit) While I’m still anxiously awaiting the diesel Colorado’s arrival on dealer lots to test-drive, I’m not ordering one if a blue oval option is on the horizon.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I think Ford is smart to realize the great potential they have here. SUVs are hot, 4×4 is hot, midsize is hot. The make or break will be in execution. If they send out a capable yet comfortable SUV at the right price, they will fly off the shelves. If they half-ass even one tiny element of the vehicle or over-price it, it will go down in flames.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    You forgot Plymouth.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      What, the Trailduster? Painfully obvious rebadged Ramcharger. In fact, every single new Plymouth after the ’74 Gran Fury was no more than a Dodge with a different grille and badges, except the Prowler, of course.

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    Excellent article. Ford had some secret video shoots going on in the Metro Detroit Area just before Santa came to town. Looks like we’ll get a late Christmas gift on the morning of January 11th at the FoMoCo NAIAS Press Conference.


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