By on September 17, 2015

Ford-Bronco-Concept-front-side

Is there a self-respecting automotive enthusiast alive, myself included, who wouldn’t love to see Ford resurrect the Bronco? Answer: Absolutely, the fun loving folks in Auburn Hills.

Ford may not need to develop a new Bronco, but it absolutely should. And it should use the Jeep Wrangler as its benchmark.

The Wrangler nameplate is so robust that it survived the under-funded ineptitude of AMC, the lean independent years, the cost cutting Cerberus era, and even the culture-challenged Mercedes decade. Wrangler transcends traditional logic of automotive success. It’s not fuel efficient, space efficient, quiet, comfortable or even particularly reliable, yet it thrives thanks to the enduring emotional connection consumers experience with it.

Consider the Wrangler’s track record: When total car sales dipped 39 percent between 2005 and 2009, Wrangler sales rose 6 percent. Since then, Wrangler sales have increased 160 percent while the industry is up 67 percent. If Wrangler were a mutual fund it would have crushed the Dow on the way down and on the way back up.

Despite all the love, the Wrangler is all alone. Others have tried (Samurai/Tracker/FJ Cruiser/Xterra) but none had the brand, legacy and/or form factor that a new Bronco could enjoy. We love the Wrangler like few other vehicles, in much the same way we could love a new Bronco.

We can thank recent growth in the compact/mid-size pickup segment for the Bronco opportunity because, without the investment in a new Ranger, a Bronco resurrection would not be viable (see Ford May Bring Ranger Back To US in 2018). Moreover, a new Bronco would supplement the Ranger in filling the void at the Michigan Truck Plant left by the departing C-Max/Focus. This idea is not new, but what form should the new Bronco take?

There has been discussion of Ford reissuing the Bronco using the T6 Ranger-based Everest (see Let’s Break Down The Ford Ranger and Bronco Rumors, Shall We?). As the logic goes, the rumored loss of Explorer’s D4 platform mates (MKS/ MKT/Flex/Taurus) will transform today’s Explorer into a scale-challenged orphan ready for replacement by a modified Everest. However, Explorer exited the recession with strength, posting double digit growth in each of the last six years and is on pace to move 270k units this year. It may not be nearing its pre-recession glory of 400k annual units, but it justifies itself without platform siblings. Replacing the current unibody, FWD-biased Explorer with a RWD, body-on-frame Everest and all the associated packaging and dynamic challenges that decision brings would be a mistake. Grand Cherokee proves there is room in the mid-size SUV segment for a real off-roader, but Ford should let 4Runner, Grand Cherokee and the new Discovery compete for these rare buyers. The real opportunity is in targeting the peerless Wrangler. Purists rejoice: That means an open-top Bronco, but if Ford wants to do it right it has much to learn from Wrangler.

One of the biggest factors driving Wrangler’s growth over the last decade has been the introduction of the four-door Unlimited in 2007, with a take-rate of 70 percent. Purists may bemoan a four-door Bronco, but without one the Bronco cannot generate the sales volume necessary to justify itself. A two-door only Bronco would end up joining other promising-but-dead products like Excursion and T-Bird. The new Bronco must be an off-road capable, open-top, emotive, fun machine offered in two- and four-door wheelbases.

How many Broncos can Ford sell and how much will it cost to develop? Wrangler is on pace to move 230k units this year. Based on FCA’s continuing investment in Wrangler, the automaker clearly sees a bright future in the nameplate. Ford can expect a mix of Wrangler conquest and new sales. Can Ford wrestle away 10 percent of Wrangler’s market and find another 25k takers a year? Almost certainly. If Bronco development cost — not shared with the new Ranger — reaches $1.5b and the Bronco lifecycle is eight years, Ford will have 400k units over which to amortize the development cost. That equates to about $3,800 per unit, an economic decision roughly equivalent to the Expedition/Navigator twins that attracted Ford’s investment based on combined sales of 42k to 57k units in each of the last seven years.

Will it cannibalize other Ford nameplates and what about CAFE? An uncompromising Bronco, as described here, has only one competitor so the cannibalization question is essentially moot. As for CAFE, absolutely a new Bronco would have a detrimental impact, but these vehicles would achieve a “light truck” classification, thus diminishing their regulatory impact. For a more complete discussion of CAFE I recommend Derek Kreindler’s excellent article, How CAFE Killed Compact Trucks And Station Wagons.

Developing a Bronco to battle Wrangler in its private niche is a sound business decision that almost every enthusiast can get behind. Ford, please resurrect one of the most storied nameplates in automobiledom, and aim it at the Wrangler. Do so, and the only losers will be Ford product managers who are not compensated like Wall Street fund managers.

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88 Comments on “Why Bronco Should Return as a Wrangler Fighter...”


  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I’m thinkin’ Bronco Raptor.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I want a full sized Bronco Raptor, but I will accept a midsized, Wrangler fighter, version. My ideal Bronco is the following: SWB F150, SuperCab doors, split tailgate/hatch, pricing slightly higher than F150, 3.5EB and 5.0L V8 available, 4×4 standard, 10 speed transmission, Raptor option.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      WhiskeyRiver,
      A mid size off roader will be more capable than a Raptor sized vehicle.

      That’s one of the reasons why the Wrangler is a capable off roader.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        He meant a Raptorized version of the midsized Bronco/Ranger.

        • 0 avatar
          WhiskeyRiver

          Indeed I did. Give us Raptor power and capability in a Wrangler-sized Bronco and watch those things fly off the shelf.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I would like to see the Ranger/BT50 come with a 5 litre V8, which would translate to the Everest (what a ridiculous name, but it’s an “E” vehicle, the only exception Ford has is the Territory). I’m not yet completely sold on the 2.7.

            I don’t like the methods Ford employs on many of it’s bearing surfaces.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Big Al – – –

            “I don’t like the methods Ford employs on many of it’s (sic) bearing surfaces.”

            I am curious about this. Would you please elaborate?

            =======================

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            NMGOM – must be another complaint about aluminum

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “automotive enthusiast alive, myself included”

    Hi, who are you?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The Explorer will have platform siblings. There will be a Lincoln version and the new platform will spawn other vehicles.

  • avatar
    Seth Parks

    Sorry, I can’t provide intricate wine goblets, just opinions on cars and turbochargers. You can find me here:

    @mseth_parks
    Or
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethparks

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    A 4 door Bronco even though it would not be keeping in tradition would be a MUST. Wrangler Unlimited is what keeps Wrangler alive. They have successfully taped into brand image to sell to those who are image concious. Most Unlimited buyers are image concious. They want a SUV that does not look like all of the other cookie cutter models out their. They don’t want to look like they have surrendered to family life practicality.

    Ford can tap into that market and fill voids in their product line. A 20k base model 2 door for entry level and hardcore buyers and more bling 4 doors priced up to 45k for the wannabe urban assault crowd.

    It also gives Ford a face saving way of bringing the Global Ranger to North America. They can say the Bronco and Ranger are a package deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      Sounds about right.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Spot on Lou_BC. I can’t even count how many perfectly clean commuter JKUs I see in the parking lot at work, driven by 35-55 year old white collar professionals. And what’s even funnier is that close to half of them are Rubicons on the factory mud terrain tires. Man I bet those are a handful in the winter or in the rain! I couldn’t resist the urge and test drove one myself. Remarkably quiet, even with the soft top. Yeah those solid axles make for a bouncy, busy ride, but not worse than most SUVs that those same people bought back in the 1990s.

      Now that the Xterra is departed, there is as much space as ever in the ‘factory offroader’ niche. The 4Runner is the only other relatively sanely priced entrant in this niche, but it’s more towards the heavier, more civilized side of the spectrum.

      It’s really sad how Nissan let the Xterra wither on the vine, with a few improvements to the interior and a switch to a coil sprung rear axle, they could be making bank right now. The 4Runner is selling really well (which stumped our good but confused friend Doug DeMuro).

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If Ford can’t figure out how to sell Explorers to most of those would-be buyers, then it needs a new marketing department.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Yeah.

      I love the idea of the Bronco, especially the original.

      I just don’t see it being worth Ford’s while to put the Bronco name on something, rather than just using the Explorer, which has plenty of brand loyalty.

      I mean, they stopped making the Bronco almost *20* years ago, guys.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed, I’m exactly who they’re marketing. We have been considering a Pilot or Explorer to replace 2 vehicles: 2002 Escape V6 4wd and 2012 Accord.

      I don’t need a second vehicle due to a company truck and being 2 miles from downtown/work. But a Bronco would tempt me to keep the Accord for the wife and have a fun 2nd vehicle (replacing the Escape).
      Ideally I’d rather have a Mustang GT but with 2 kids and living in Idaho, it’s not ideal at this point in life. Bronco would be perfect, in 4 doors.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I would argue that a “wrangler-ish” Bronco would act as an attainable halo vehicle, and actually help increase Explorer purchases. A vehicle as Seth describes would sell well in addition to supplying some additional cred to the Explorer. A nice twin turbo 2.7L V6 as the base motor would be ridiculously good.

      • 0 avatar
        Seth Parks

        Yes, a Bronco like I described would absolutely act as an “attainable halo vehicle” (well put fvfvsix), much like the Mustang already does.

        The entry engine would not be a 2.7L, but they could certainly fit it into the lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The price point/volume combination isn’t high enough to make sense. Without a compact pickup built on the same line, it’s a loser (and even with the compact truck, it’s a loser due to the low total demand.)

      There are only two possible ways that it might make sense (with emphasis on the “might”):

      -Tweak the Everest and import a US version with different body work*

      -Give TMC a call, and get Toyota to build it under contract based upon the Tacoma, but with Ford styling and tweaking, such as a Ford drivetrain

      On the whole, creating Explorer variations to target niches makes more sense.

      *Before someone chimes in, there won’t be a “chicken tax” if the passenger accommodations are nice enough that it gets labeled as a passenger instead of a cargo vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Pch101 – Agreed. The market prefers “passenger” over “truck” accoutrements so it would be an easier sell as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Heck, combine the two approaches and make a “moderately serious offroad” version of the Explorer, call it the “Explorer Bronco”.

        Purists will twitch, but it would work well enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Sigivald – Bronco Explorer would sound better and historically “Explorer” was a trim package on Ford pickups. My dad had and F250 Explorer in the 70’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The Explorer Sport was a two-door, and it was cancelled ages ago for a reason.

          If the author’s idea is to have another two-door Ford SUV, then it’s a bad plan. If he wants a more aggressive body style, then it may make sense but it would have to share the Explorer platform for the sake of cost.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – if platform sharing with a unibody SUV is the only way a Bronco is to materialize then a Wrangler fighter will never materialize.
            The Wrangler sells to harcore off-roaders because it has what it takes to be a sound off-road platform. It sells to image conscious buyers because it sells to hardcore off-roaders. The two are directly related.
            A Bronco based on a soft-roader SUV will be a hard sell. If they need a platform to share then they’d be better off using an F150 as a platform and resurrect the late 70’s styling.
            A Bronco F150 and Bronco Raptor would be a much easier sell than a re-skinned Exploder.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            As I noted, it makes no sense to have a line in the US that would build a low-volume vehicle based upon a platform that is unique to the US. To base this on a truck platform, it would have to be imported.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Pch101 – that may depend on whether or not Ford wants it to be a global player. The Ranger as a donour platform makes most sense if one wants something similar in size to the Wrangler. Ford thought the Ranger was too close to the F150 so why not a F150 Bronco? There was a rumour of an F250 SUV.

            If one compares A reg cab 6.5 box F150 to a Wrangler unlimited, the F150 is 24.9 inches longer, is 6.2 inches wider, but only has a 4.4 inch longer wheelbase.

            It would be rather easy to shorten the F150 by a few feet.

            The added bonus is the mere mention of an aluminum F150 based Bronco would get “Al” frothing at the lips……….

            A win win for everyone ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou_BC,
            There will be a significant difference in off road ability between a Raptor size vehicle vs a Ranger size vehicle.

            Maybe the US mall cruiser market will buy them. But for a serious off roader you’d want a Ranger size vehicle with a diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “A win win for everyone”

            One reason that GM failed is because of its desire to enter unprofitable niches for no particularly good reason. Fortunately, Ford does not seem to have such people on the payroll.

            As I noted in the beginning, if Ford can’t figure out how to sell Explorers to many of these people, then it needs a new marketing department. Spending a billion dollars to please a few people on the internet (most of whom will never buy one) is not the answer. It’s a win for a few guys on the internet, a loss for those who are paid to produce a profit.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            ” If the author’s idea is to have another two-door Ford SUV, then it’s a bad plan.”

            If you’d read the article, he clearly states the need for a 4-door model. Geeze, why comment if you didnt even read it?!

            If your contention that there is no need for a two door, I disagree. A Wrangler compeditor needs to compete at all levels. A two door would be fine for purists, there is no reason to make it 4-door only. That could limit its appeal even if the 4-door is the more popular version.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Pch101 – will it be a billion dollar investment?
            The Ranger already exists globally and so does a Ranger based SUV.

            If Ford does not want the Ranger in the USA then what is the next possible “body on frame” option?
            That leaves the F150.

            A unibody Bronco based off of the Explorer would be a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee competitor not a Wrangler competitor.

            I do agree that filling a niche is not profitable but the whole point of platform sharing is to reach profitability.

            Competitors like the FJ Cruiser just weren’t hardcore enough. I rarely ever see one modded. You can sell a poser a hardcore product but you can’t sell a poser product to anybody.

            Big Al – a successful Wrangler competitor could be wider with minimal penalties. The F150 Raptor is a sales success. Not all off-roading takes place between 2 narrow rocks.
            In relation to my post about dimensions. A Global Ranger reg cab would be 1.7 inches shorter than a Reg cab f150, 7.1 inches narrower, but 7.7 inches longer in wheelbase.

            The only real advantage the Global Ranger would have over a comparable F150 is width. The Ranger is actually 0.9 inch narrower than a Wrangler.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s not cheap to create, assemble, market and support new vehicles. When volumes are low, the base over which to amortize those costs is inadequate. When prices are low, then the margin is lacking to make up for the lack of volume. Surely you’ve spent enough time on this website to know that these are issues that automakers have to deal with.

            In any case, building more stuff just for the sake of it doesn’t make much sense. Automakers need to sell more of what they already have instead of just adding more variations that suck up resources and don’t produce profit. Enthusiasts don’t have to worry about budgets or inventory management, but automakers do.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – the discussion was about potential platforms. The point of being an enthusiast is to look at things passionately not dispassionately.

            I’m well aware of financial realities. Married with children forces the dispassionate financial view all too many times……….but one can dream occasionally ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou_BC,
            The Everest wheelbase is around 10″-12″ shorter than the Ranger. It would be on par with the 4 door Wrangler in size.

            It has a coil rear suspension as well, set up on a live axle like the Rangers. The front is the usual coil over arrangement.

            The Ranger chassis are extremely strong with minimal torsional movement. Off road you will most likely have more 3 and 2 wheel contact than with the Wrangler. But the diff locks and electronic aids makes the Ranger and BT50 do some incredible stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The JK Wrangler with 4 doors actually has a longer wheelbase than the Everest. The Everest is longer though.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Lol If Ford cant figure out how to sell a “Taurus wagon with extra butch” to guys wanting a hardcore off road truck, its their fault? Lol

      So, can marketing help sell the Malibu Eco to 911 buyers? I think we can sell 3cyl Mirages to S-Class buyers while we are at it, whaddya think?

      Marketing? Itd be easier to overthrow the government and then make the Wrangler illegal than it would be to convince someone interested in going off road to buy a big, porky carUV over it.

      The Explorer is great at peeling people out of Highlander and Traverse, but its absurd to think it can be made to do that to the Wrangler by way of marketing.

      Do you even think about what youre saying before spouting off?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Your handle is a tribute to a dying nameplate. Not exactly objective.

        • 0 avatar

          I would agree with you PCH but there is a bit of truth in what Taurus says. Selling the explorer to the wrangler crowd is more than marketing they are very different vehicles at the very least to the buyers they are. It would be like saying lets drop the mustang because we can get all of those buyers with the Fusion if we market it better, not gonna happen. Now ignore the door count it’s more about the purpose of the vehicle (even if it isn;t used and remember most mustangs will never break the speed limit by more then 15 mph in their life)

          The only competitors that jeep really had recently were the FJ cruiser 4runner and xterra only one remains and they lacked one of the big drivers of wrangler sales the soft top.

          I’m not saying it’s worth Fords time, in all likely hood it’s not, but lets be clear they will never steal more then a tiny trifle of wrangler sales with their current lineup, no matter what the marketing. In fact I bet mustangs steal more wrangler sales then a explorer ever could.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Hopefully it’s ready in time when OJ gets paroled/released.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    THIS is what the FJ cruiser should have been

    if toyota could do something like this with a shortened tacoma frame/drivetrain and keep costs under jeep, it would sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      Sadly, Toyota essentially already has this vehicle, but refuses to bring it to North America. Their current LC70 lineup lacks a removable top, though previous versions have offered it in a 2-door.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The FJ should hit all the right notes for me, but it doesn’t. The retro design completely ruins an otherwise excellent vehicle, and misses the utilitarian and practical nature of the original FJ40 by a mile. The original FJ had a large, upright greenhouse, not a squashed, impossible-to-see-out-of coal bin of an interior. Seth is right, the LC70 is the proper successor to the throne. They were selling a limited number of “30th anniversary” re-release LC70s in Japan, with the 4Runner’s 4.0L motor. Now that would be a neat Wrangler fighter!

      • 0 avatar
        Seth Parks

        Yes, as sales have shown, Toyota missed the mark with the FJ. And though they are offering a limited run of 30th Anniversary special LC70s in Japan (all RHD), we know it will not be coming here.

        But, there are LHD LC70s in Europe that meet Federal import requirements, so such a product can be obtained.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a 25 year old-importable JDM Land Cruiser by way of a Canadian importer (a diesel LC80 most likely, or a Prado 78) but I’m leery of being any sort of trailblazer as far as getting a RHD import registered in my state. Parts availability is a whole ‘nother ballgame as far as diesel-specific parts go. An overlanding vehicle isn’t very practical if you can’t get parts for it anywhere. In the end, even with their 12mpg appetites, I’d be way ahead by simply buying a clean US-spec gas LC80.

          But one can dream…

          linkhttp://expeditionportal.com/78-series-land-cruiser-prado-project-vehicle/

          • 0 avatar
            Seth Parks

            Tough choices, and everybody has an opinion. Mine, having overlanded around the world, is if you plan to use it exclusively in North America avoid RHD solutions.

            You have probably seen Christophe Noel’s list, which i think is pretty good, though I would swap out the Ram for a WK2:

            http://expeditionportal.com/2015s-top-five-overland-vehicles-for-north-america/

            And Scott Brady’s 4 year old list is absolutely still relevant:

            http://expeditionportal.com/top-10-used-overland-vehicles/

            For SUVs my choice would be a locally available LC100. It’s about as good an overlanding solution as you will find.

            However, I so know a reputable LHD LC70 importer. If you want to know more, find me on Twitter.

            @mseth_parks

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’d argue the Grand Cherokee isn’t worthy owing to its lack of payload/cargo capacity. One could also argue lack of suspension durability but that’s less of a factor.

            I gotta say, Expedition Portal makes me a bit queasy sometimes with the obsession with latest/greatest gear. But there’s definitely a lot of people in that realm with A LOT of money. I’d rather see them do an ‘every man’s’ build with an old Trooper or Montero or something.

  • avatar
    JREwing

    If you’re going to compete with the Wrangler, the vehicle must be just as capable (or better) off-road than the Wrangler. Almost as good won’t cut it. Most users won’t use the capability, but this latter-day Bronco’s reputation won’t have a chance if it’s an also-ran off road.

    In other words, Ford can’t afford to develop a Hummer H2 – a platform-sharing money grab with no substance. Fortunately, they’ve proven with the Raptor that they “get it”. If Ford puts a Raptor-style suspension on a shortened Ranger platform, gives it a torquey engine and removable tops, with plenty of styling cues from the original Bronco, it could be a winner.

    A good chunk of those development costs damn well better go into aftermarket suspension and accessories. The possibilities for accessorizing your Wrangler are endless, and Ford would be stupid to not acknowledge the possibilities.

  • avatar
    Dipstick

    Leave Bronco alone. Lift the suspension on the Mustang. Ford Mustango

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Meh…everyone has basically left this market except for Jeep.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I love that concept! I would love to own one – probably much more reliable than any Jeep, and much more practical for everyday use, too – not to mention more comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It would be very, very difficult to dislodge the Jeep Wrangler in this segment.

      Why would anyone buy second best as long as the original Wrangler is still out and about?

      Coke isn’t the only thing that’s “real”. Wrangler, “It’s The Real Thing” could also qualify for that slogan.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I don’t know if Toyota could’ve dislodged Jeep but it surely could’ve taken a pretty good bite of Jeep sales if they would’ve made a genuine effort to compete with the Wrangler.

        As is, at least for the people I know, the Tacoma is what’s cross shopped most often with the Wrangler.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I believe that “if they build it” (whatever that it vehicle is), “they will come” (to buy it.) So there is room for more choice.

          Whether choice would allow it to be profitable, that’s another question entirely.

          The Wrangler has a mystique all its own. I’ve owned several used ones over the decades and, yes, they broke often, but were easy to fix (when I was doing my own work.)

          In our case, breakdowns were accelerated because we used those Wranglers (and Scouts) to go mudding, racing around a muddy racetrack in 4wd mode.

          My son is still waiting for his 2016 Tacoma 4dr 4X4. That’s what he has now. No more Wranglers for him.

          Demand for the 2016 Tacoma is totally out of control in the Brownsville, TX area. Long waiting list, and they’re made right there in San Antonio.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        The Bronco name is older than Wrangler. So in your analogy, it’s more like the Coke. Wrangler is almost 1980s New Coke lol.

        The general shape/look of the Wrangler has been around longer, yes, but the Wrangler itself hasnt.

        And who’s to say the Bronco will be “second best”? Youre assuming that because Ford has no experience in desirable, profitable, formitable off road vehicles? So, who made the Raptor? No, the Raptor isnt equivilent to the Wrangler (two very different sets of off-road abilities), but the point is, this isnt little Kia going after a BMW 8-series and failing, Ford has the resorces and the engineering to develop an excellent Wrangler compeditor. But, youve naturally judged it to be inferior before its even been drawn on paper.

        Oh, and another thing, just wondering if you said when GM was planning the Camaro’s return “well who will buy that when the Mustang is still out there?” Thats equivilent to what youre saying now. As if competition isnt a good thing, and nobody will buy someone else’s better version of an existing vehicle, causing the existing vehicle to up its game and improve the segment by leap frogging the other car, and so on. What a narrow, close minded view you have. Thats kinda how the auto industry works.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        enough people have been burned by chrysler over the years that a competitor that can beat the absurd pricing and offer reliability would have a good shot

        i looked at the austrailain FC page. they look nice, but theyre big and start at over $45k USD (equivalent)

  • avatar

    The folks at Jeep were glad to see Hummer killed in GM’s bankruptcy and bailout. In early 2008, GM showed the Hummer HX concept, which, if it made it to production, would have had the Wrangler squarely in its sights.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My sister in Seattle, WA owned a blindingly-yellow Hummer H3.

      With the demise of Hummer she was able to divest herself from that orphan and buy a Forest Green 4-dr Wrangler Sahara (Automatic) to replace it.

      Goes better with the green surroundings. And she has been a happy camper on both the Canadian and American sides of the border where she and her Canadian husband own homes.

      I don’t know that she would have considered an FJ or any other brand to replace that H3. Wrangler is kinda like a go-to.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Quick MS Paint 4 door version: Bronco “Unlimited”
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/dogsledder54/Bronko4dr_zpso9bqmxtg.png

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I like it, but I picture it with styling similar to the new F-150. Not a scaled copy, just a “member of the family” apperance. Just my opinion.

      Just dont give us the Everest’s “Ford rebadged Dodge Durango” mug.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    Great Essay. I hope your College prospects understand it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Its almost as though youve taken exactly what Ive been screaming since this return-of-the-US-Ranger.

    The only point Ive made that you missed is that the Transit’s I-5 PowerStroke Turbo Diesel should be an option. Im quite sure the 2.7L EcoBoost would be a good option. Maybe a turbo I-4 or a 3.5/3.7L n/a V-6 to start with.

    An aluminum bodied, off-road ready, Turbo Diesel Bronco? How can it loose? Offer it in Brown Diesel Wagon Clearcoat Metallic and everyone on the internet will (say they will) buy it! Used…
    Kidding of course but it stands to reason a Turbo Diesel truck-based Bronco would make a compelling alternative to a Wrangler. Legendary name, true-to-form, no BS.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      I could not agree more. A true Apex Bronco would certainly include a diesel. I had a powertrain paragraph in the first draft, but it did not make the final cut.

      Bronco powertrains would likely mimic the Ranger powertrains, making an I4 the base engine. Moreover, given Ford’s well established product strategy they would offer a pair of Ecoboost options, capping out with the 2.7L. This is not so much what I advocate as much as what I believe is most likely.

      If they offer a diesel it would almost certainly be shared with the Transit, be it the current 3.2L or the next generation. There is a strong chance that the next Wrangler will offer a diesel, hopefully that is enough to push Ford to offer one in a Wrangler fighter as well, but I am skeptical that they will do so. The bellwether to watch may be the take rate on diesel Colorado/Canyon. If those sell well for GM then Ford may feel compelled to offer a diesel in the Ranger, which would prompt its availability in a new Bronco.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The image of the Bronco looks very Land Rover’ish.

    I do think the latest Everest is a viable vehicle for the US market as a very capable off roader.

    The Everest will appeal to those who want a decent on road drive with Wrangler off road performance.

    We used to have the Broncos sold here in Australia and they are far to wide to do any decent off roading.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      I’m not a fan of that Bronco concept Ford floated a few years ago, but its just a placeholder for the article. It is not a design endorsement.

      Yes, the last four generations of the Bronco were F-100/150 based, so rather large. The first generation (1966-1977) is more Wrangler-like and contains the DNA I am looking for. I’ll leave the design work to design people, but a Ranger based Bronco would provide the appropriate platform upon which to create a right-sized Bronco.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “Ford may not need to develop a new Bronco, but it absolutely should. And it should use the Jeep Wrangler as its benchmark.”

    No, Ford should NOT use the Wrangler as its benchmark. That cannot be done easily, or the Hummer 3 and Toyota FJ Cruiser would still be here. There is no direct competition for the Wrangler: it’s too unique, with too much cachet, and has features that are nicely historic, like two great solid axles. (I have one, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.)

    Yes, Ford should bring out a new Bronco. But it should blaze its own marketing trail, and not try to hang onto the coattails of anybody else. The new Ford Bronco should be unique in its own right. For example, if the new Bronco were a hybrid; or ran on biodiesel; or had independent portal axles (like HUMVEE); or had a drag coefficient of 0.40, and not 0.55; or came with a V-8 engine; or got 30 mpg; or, — well, you get the idea.

    Maybe the new Ford Bronco could be a Land Rover Defender replacement, or compete at the top end with the Mercedes Benz G-class?

    ==================

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      NMGOM – you raise a valid point.

      People buy the Wrangler because it is a Jeep. It has a reputation and history dating back 70 years. It is impossible to compete directly with that. No different than Harley Davidson cruisers. Everyone else can copy it and even build a vastly superior alternative but people will still line up to buy a Harley or Jeep.

      If Ford wants to resurrect the Bronco it needs to carve out its own identity with some overlap with the Wrangler.

      How many people in the current Jeep demographic actually remember the initial Bronco?

      Some of the jokes about the Bronco on this thread highlight the most common image of it. It isn’t of a small competent 4×4 (once you took a sawzall to the back wheel wells). It is an image of a white bloated pickup based SUV followed by a bunch of police cars.

      The global Ranger makes the most sense as a platform but that means bringing the Ranger to NA along with a Bronco fighter.

      I’d expect to see another F150 based SUV before that happens.

  • avatar
    AngeloD

    Ford of Brazil already builds a Wrangler fighter: the Troller T4.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/06/04/ford-troller-t-brazil-suv/9891621/

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Angelo – – –

      If Ford believed it would be competitive with Wrangler, it would be here already. I personally would like to see the Troller be imported to America, regardless of where it’s made; but, in my view, it would not be a “Wrangler fighter”. And now, Jeep has some of the Troller’s function covered, with the Renegade at one end, and the 4-door Unlimited at the other. What would Troller compete on? Price? The 2-door soft-top Wrangler already starts at $24K, and that’s hard to beat.

      ==================

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Ford already sells a four door Bronco, its called Expedition. The Bronco, like the K5 Blazer was a full-size two-door SUV; built on the half-ton truck chassis. The K5 and Bronco both were replaced by the Tahoe and Expedition.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Expedition that replaced it was two feet longer and had a foot longer wheelbase. What I want is a full size Bronco that has the SuperCab doors. Basically a SWB F150 with a cab and better rear seats. CAFE makes it so it will never happen.

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