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.
In Part One of this minitruckin’ history, we covered how the Big 3 provided their dealers with “captive import” minitrucks from Mazda, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi during the Seventies. By 1975 or thereabouts, both GM and Ford were convinced that the small-pickup market was not a fad and began digging their own products out of the parts bin.
The Chevrolet S-10/GMC S-15 was a sort of truck version of the A-body (later G-body) intermediate. While it’s not dimensionally identical to the older sedans, it’s possible to swap much of the running gear between those two vehicles, particularly ahead of the firewall. The Ford Ranger arrived a few months after the S-10, a few inches smaller in most dimensions and looking remarkably ungainly compared to its sleek GM competitor. Those of you who followed the minitrucking hobby in the Nineties will recall that the Ranger was conspicuous by its absence; “domestic” minitruckers were almost exclusively loyal to the S-10/S-15. Part of that was due to the Twin-I-Beam’s reluctance to accept a lowering kit and/or airbags, but much of it was the Ranger’s hokey, hick-ish appearance compared to the S-10.
So what did that mean for the captive import trucks?
I was having a conversation with a female friend a few weeks ago and she admitted to having “fooled around” in no fewer than four different brands of minitrucks during the Nineties and Oughties. I suppose in her case that would be the Noughties — but that’s besides the point. I should also mention that the fourth “minitruck” was really a Colorado, and the incident in question happened fairly recently.
“There’s always some kind of stick shift in the way, in those little trucks, you know?” she said.
“Those are the little crosses that empowered young women have to bear,” was my response.
The conversation could have gone in any number of directions from there, but where it actually went was to A Brief Discussion Of Mini-Trucks In America, 1970-2010. I thought it might be a conversation worth having with all of you, as well, because it showcases a rather unique phenomenon in American automotive history. (Read More…)
Ford fanboys (this one included) will finally get the Wrangler-fighting sport utility they’ve been yearning for since the demise of the Blue Oval’s two-door SUV in the mid ’90s.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford is looking to get back into the newly re-energized midsize truck game with its global Ranger, and that truck brings with it a sport utility based on the same architecture. It’s widely believed that SUV will be none other than Bronco.
What if an automobile manufacturer could develop a new product, bring it to market, never substantially update the product, and continue to sell that product at a similar pace year after year? That would be impressive. But Ford could not manage to execute that four-pronged action with the Ranger.
Yes, Ford originally developed a Ranger, brought the Ranger to the North American market, and didn’t bother to truly update the Ranger. The consistent sales pace aspect? Nope, didn’t happen.
U.S. Ranger sales declined in 11 consecutive years at the end of its tenure, from 2000 to 2010. The 28-percent year-over-year increase to 70,832 units in 2011 occurred as Ford cleared out the final Rangers at ridiculously low prices and buyers of small trucks who wanted a genuinely small truck picked up the Rangers that remained. (Read More…)
If you live in the NAFTA zone (excluding Mexico, of course), your best bet at seeing a global Ford Ranger is in the movie The Counselor. Otherwise, you’ll soon be able to buy a now-updated version of Ford’s F-150 for the rest of us.
This was my first vacation in, like, ever. And it was supposed to be a break from cars. No driving, wrenching, writing, photographing! Stop looking at that Ford Versailles, don’t take a photo of that Renault, because car design is no vacation in such a beautiful place…right?
And then “my” Ford Ranger found me in Leblon. Oh, for the love of why did I walk down this street I can’t believe that stupid truck followed me from…
I’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear. (Read More…)
Ford is said to be mulling a smaller pickup to slot beneath the F-150, plucked from their existing global product portfolio. One thing we are sure of is that it won’t be the new “global Ranger” sold in world markets.