By on July 6, 2020

Ford/YouTube

A 1970 Dodge ad campaign once said of the viewer, “If you can cope with a whole new image, you could be Dodge material.” Well, today — a week out from what this writer has dubbed B-Day — Ford is appealing to those wild at heart to leave their old lifestyles, and the pavement, in the past.

Are you Built Wild?

You’d better be, otherwise that new Bronco will leave you in the dust.

Shown running alongside a pack of wild horses and plowing through snow, mud, and dirt with the help of massive, balloon-like all-terrain tires, Ford’s returning body-on-frame off-roader officially debuts July 13th, though the automaker saw fit to generate early buzz via a spot titled “Built Wild.” There’s canyons and pines and people with backpacks and a bearded guy sitting next to a campfire (over which he presumably just roasted a squirrel). The husky-voiced narrator once took a shot at Wyatt Earp.

At one point, we see a group of fit older Millennials running through the woods at night towards a luminous object. Nothing spooky about that.

Describing Bronco not as a vehicle but as a brand, Ford announced the creation of four “Off-Roadeo outdoor adventure playgrounds” located somewhere in the U.S. (but probably not Delaware) to give new owners and Bronco intenders the full-on adventure experience they so crave. With Bronco, you’re not just driving an SUV — you’re a member of a community. That’s right: Bronco Nation.

It’s like Saturn, only with less plastic and more campfire stories. Don that flannel and learn to be a better off-roader, fellas and gals.

Alongside its new adventure vehicle and associated adventure schools (a Jurassic Park-themed one would be bitchin’, as well as on-brand, Dearborn), Ford saw fit to create an “independent online community that enables owners and enthusiasts to share and discover off-roading adventures including trails, vintage Bronco vehicle information and event calendars.”

If you’re worried about a lack of merchandise, give your head a shake. Of course there’ll be merchandise.

Beyond providing us with sometimes questionable computer-assisted glimpses of the two- and four-door Bronco in the, er, wild (joined by the Escape-based Bronco Sport, as the name signifies a family/brand now), the Blue Oval didn’t dispense much in the way of product details in this latest blitz. Ford touts the vehicles’ extensive durability testing, capability, and standard terrain-management features, as well as the name’s exceedingly strong heritage. Don’t expect to find two-wheel drive models anywhere in the lineup.

Postponed by a few days because of O.J. Simpson (typical), the Bronco family is due to arrive next Monday.

[Images: Ford]

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40 Comments on “Adventures in Marketing: Ford Bronco Goes Into the Wild...”


  • avatar
    micko4472

    It may be a tough little vehicle, but I’m not buying an ORV with a
    2.3L turbo engine.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It would be insane not to but the twin turbo 2.7 V6 (optional) in it (as rumored), and it may not happen since the Ranger platform (sorta rumored) won’t accept it. But is the Bronco on an all-new platform (planned for the next Ranger)?

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      the 2.3 is surprisingly quick and capable in the Ranger with the 10-speed transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Unfortunately it’s wrapped in a complete turd.

        And that 10-speed. Oof. Nothing but issues. The GM version has been fine which points to a programming issue on Fords part (not surprising).

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      A buggy would be fine with a forced induction 2.3l engine.

      A truck, not so much. That includes the Wrangler with the 4 banger as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Isn’t this the most powerful motor Ford has ever installed in any vehicle wearing Bronco badges?

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      I’m pretty excited about the new Bronco, but I gotta admit that the first gen Bronco in this ad sounded soooo much better with its V8 before it morphed into the new one with the boosted 4.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’m so confused, are both the Bronco and Bronco Sport being introduced on the same day. I’m still really interested in these vehicles, but Ford sure isn’t making it easy to understand which is which and the fact that these are completely different vehicles

    *sigh*

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Lie2: Depending on how you look at it, the Bronco is going after Jeep in nearly every way it can. Obviously the 2-door and 4-door versions are decidedly Wrangler-like while the Sport almost comes across as trying to compete with the Renegade, which is the most Wrangler-like grille on a non-Wrangler.

      The thing is certainly interesting and even appealing to some extent. But it is a Ford and my luck with Fords is not stellar.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s crazy that Ford is just now getting back into it, as far as open (bathtub) 4-wheelers go. A “trail” themed CUV is just the natural progression.

        Except they should also sell a Bronco “Grande” pop-top 2 and 4-door, based on Expedition/F-series if you ask me.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I know, Jeep has been walking away with this category for about the last 20 years while Ford and GM sat it out and let them

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @DenverMike: On that I disagree; the F-150-based Bronco was not a true Bronco in any sense; it was a pure pickup truck on a shortened frame that was more than 30% larger than the original. This Bronco is still larger than the original CJ/YJ-series Jeeps but compares rather nicely to the JK/JL-series Wranglers.

          Again, I like the looks and am honestly intrigued by this beast… I just question the reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “I just question the reliability.”

            Just don’t buy the first year, never buy the first year Ford

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Lie2: Doesn’t matter if it’s first-year, middle-year or last-year Ford; I don’t trust any of them.

            And it seems to me like they manage to live up to their F.O.R.D. reputation, too.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Idk. Found on ROAD dead means it was able to law it out of the factory.

            The Explorer and MKExplorer didn’t even get that far.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What does that mean? It’s like saying it’s not a true T-Bird if it’s not a 2-seater T-Bird.

            It depends on your experience/age group. There was nothing “classic”, nostalgic or interesting (by the ’80s) about ’60s Broncos, CJs, Wagoneers, etc.

            It’s what you got if you were poor (and wanted a fun car, on and off road), in high school mowing lawns, minimum wage, etc.

            Yes I paid a lot more for my “modern” (used) Bronco II than a would’ve the average ’60s “True” Bronco. The cool kids had the fullsize Broncos/Blazers/Ramchargers, but the Bronco II was a closer interpretation of the original anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Never be a Beta Tester, plus you pay more to first in line.

            It should be as “reliable” as the Mustang or Ranger, so at least there’s that. It’s a Double Whammy when you get an all-new drivetrain too. Ford has learned to avoid the scenario.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I know OJ is the celeb most associated with the Bronco, but anybody here old enough to remember Ty Hardin from the old Bronco Layne western show?
    I looked him up and sadly he’s passed on – he might have had a shot at a commercial cameo.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I don’t know, this feels a lot like an AstroTurf campaign to upset Jeep’s natural field of play.

    Maybe it will work, but I’m not holding my breath. I have no doubt that Ford can make a capable off-road vehicle, but to build (or rebuild) a culture around it overnight is a VERY heavy lift. Kudos to them for trying, but if they wanted to compete with Jeep as a cultural icon they never should have abandoned the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @NoID: I agree with your main point but they should have kept the Bronco as a unique vehicle or at least PROPERLY based on the Ranger platform once they went that way. Going bigger, into the full-sized pickup range, hurt the model because the little CJ/YJ could effectively run rings around it in the woods. After that, it became more of a luxury vehicle rather than a dedicated off-road vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @NoID: I agree with your main point but they should have kept the Bronco as a unique vehicle or at least PROPERLY based on the Ranger platform once they went that way. Going bigger, into the full-sized pickup range, hurt the model because the little CJ/YJ could effectively run rings around it in the woods. After that, it became more of a luxury vehicle rather than a dedicated off-road vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Interesting take, and you may be right. Jeep dominates the off-road and overland scene, and I wonder if Ford can put a dent in the brand loyalty. The Wrangler and Gladiator are tremendously profitable for FCA.

      But FCA has dropped the ball a bit with the new JL Wrangler as owners are plagued with nagging reliability issues. Every owner has some sort of problem with many having multiple. From bubbling paint to water entering the rear diff to flammable manual transmissions, the problems are stacking up.

      I may have just answered my own question – if the Bronco is RELIABLE, it may be able to take some business from Jeep. If not, well, there will always be the defectors to the 4Runner and Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        What??? How does a manual transmission catch fire???

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I know the Daimler-designed JK had an issue like that with its automatic transmission but I honestly haven’t heard about all that many problems with the FCA-designed JL. I’d like to know more, if the data’s available.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          There is now a TSB and recall out about it:

          “Jeep is recalling certain 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler SUVs and 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup trucks equipped with manual transmissions because they may overheat and pose an increased fire risk. … If the case fractures, there’s a risk that heated debris could contact ignition sources on the vehicle and start a fire.”

          By “manual transmission overheat”, it should say that FCA under-engineered or went cheap on the clutch friction pads, and they slip causing increased temperature in the transmission housing. By “case fractures”, they mean the transmission housing basically shatters open from excess temperature, and by “ignition sources”, it means the fuel line that runs right next to the transmission housing.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      How many Wrangler buyers are die-hard Jeep people though and how many buy it because they want something reasonably practical that you can take the roof and doors off of?

      There’s no competition for the Wrangler right now with the lifestyle buyers. This will be the first real test of their loyalty.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I am probably wrong, but I just have the feeling that this thing will not be a wild sales success. It will be more of a niche vehicle like the Hummer or the Toyota F40.
    The prolific pre-release hype for all these many months was almost tiresome.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      That’s the problem. Most people are already tired of these Jeep clones and they haven’t even been released yet. Irresponsible delay after irresponsible delay after irresponsible delay.

      But Ford doesn’t care. The vehicles have taken a back seat to pet projects like train stations etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Despite Ford’s best efforts at another botched roll-out I do think they will be a success. I really think the public is more then ready for anything other then another watered-down crossover

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “Built Wild”.

    With all the delays that’s the best tag line they could come up with? It’s laughably bad.

    Reminds me of Circuit City when they introduced their in-home installation and computer services. They called it “Fire Dog”. Shortly after Circuit City went bankrupt. Absolutely awful marketing and the Ford Wrangler is no different

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      “Built Wild” is truly lame. They could have done so much better in the slogan department. But Farley probably fired them all and outsourced their marketing somewhere overseas.

      Which has an interesting parallel to Circuit City. One of the biggest mistakes Circuit City made was to fire all of their high performing salespeople in an attempt to appease shareholders. What the corporate offices didn’t realize is that their high performing sales reps were really good at what they did, and they networked outside of the office and had repeat customers, etc. These reps were the only reason many people even came to circuit city. Laying them off cut off CC’s leg to save the body – and the whole thing died.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Well, when you go into the dealer and complain about the build quality, they can point to the slogan on the sign and say they warned you.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Very true. Much like Circuit City at the end of its life, Ford is a ship without a rudder. No direction at all from Hackett other than pet projects.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        The Hi-Fi business as a whole changed pretty radically towards the end of Circuit City’s run. They never successfully diversified from that model. Back then any place that sold stuff like that had a listening room and people expected knowledgeable sales staff. You didn’t need that to sell 400 dollar E-Machines PC’s and crappy car stereos which is where they ended up.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Best Buy, just try and find a decent stereo there. Phones, tablets, laptops, TVs and a few appliances. Very little in the way of good stereo equipment :(

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Honestly there is very little in the way of good stereo equipment built today outside of super high end stuff. The prices of golden era equipment reflect this. The trend today is towards connectivity and features with absolute sound quality and servicing it being afterthoughts. Given the trend towards compressed digital as the means of consuming it, it makes sense from a business perspective and by the time it breaks they figure you will want the latest feature anyway so why make it servicable.

            I love the old stuff, but my ears are so bad now the sound quality is pretty much a non factor. I do have a modern set up for my home theater because HDMI, but my music is still on 2 channel golden era stuff, typically Pioneer but that is mainly because my dad was into it and I like it for nostalgias sake. Still…older than I am and has only needed a couple of caps replaced which is probably why they aren’t as good now…nobody is staying in business selling you a new amp every 40 years.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    If they didn’t hire Sam Elliot to narrate this, there was a huge opportunity missed.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Huh…

    “You can make the mistake with a family of vehicles if you just start peppering that family with things that don’t live up to the core tenets with what it is you’re building,” he said. “Everything we do … it will have to live up to that same DNA and that same goal that the [MUSTANG] has, otherwise it doesn’t belong in the family. We’re not just badge-engineering. It’s not the name that makes the vehicle, it’s the vehicle that makes the name.”

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