With Bronco Fam, Ford Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for New Buyers
The Bronco family, as Ford calls the trifecta composed of the Bronco Two-Door, Four-Door, and Bronco Sport, has a singular mission: to leverage the fond memories and emotions generated by a storied nameplate to lure new buyers to the brand, boosting the automaker’s volume and profitability.
Despite the pandemic, Ford’s expectations haven’t changed. And the ideal buyers of any member of the Bronco family isn’t someone who can take advantage of Plan Pricing.
Yes, Ford doesn’t want a returning buyer to choose between the Ranger and Bronco — it wants people who weren’t previously considering a Ford to see an image of the Bronco running free across a dusty plain or grassy plateau, suddenly realize what their life is missing, and rush to the online configurator (or dealer) in a mad panic.
Last week, Ford’s president of the Americas, Kumar Galhotra, told CNBC that the company expects the volume added to its sales sheet to be in the hundreds of thousands.
“It’s such an emotional product, and we see a lot of value in that brand,” he said. “That should in turn create significant value for the company.”
That emotion is key, and it forms a big part of Ford’s current product strategy. Why else would Ford opt to call its upcoming four-door electric SUV the Mustang Mach-E and not, say, the EcoSpark or some ridiculous thing?
With regard to the Bronco Sport, Ford made sure the Escape-based model didn’t mirror its sibling too much. The model boasts a shorter wheelbase, wider track, unique AWD system, and varies greatly in terms of suspension, ground clearance, and off-roadability. And, of course, there’s the design and model-specific features and accessories. As for the Bronco, it’s not stepping heavily on any toes in the lineup.
“They’re going to add substantial volume to the company and they’re going to be growth volume because none of the vehicles exist today,” Galhotra said. “It is a net-add to the portfolio, net-add to volume and profitable volume.”
Speaking to Automotive News, Ford’s U.S. consumer marketing manager, Mark Grueber, said early projections for the Bronco family haven’t changed on account of the pandemic. The automaker told dealers, pre-virus, that it anticipates 200,000 annual sales among the three vehicles, with the four-door Bronco outpacing sales of the two-door.
“The customer for Bronco and Bronco Sport is a bit different than the mass market,” Grueber said. “Interest is still extremely strong.”
By all accounts, that interest reached a fever pitch last night. Ford’s order site was having difficulty keeping up with the number of $100 reservations flung at the Dearborn company. Were all these prospective owners brand newbies? Not a chance. But if they saw something in Bronco they didn’t see anywhere else in the lineup and felt compelled to make a buy, that’s still a win for Ford.
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>> to leverage the fond memories and emotions I don't have any fond memories of the Bronco; or any at all except for seeing OJ's white Bronco slow police "chase". Or in an occasional Cannon or Barnaby Jones episode, given the huge number of Ford vehicles on those shows. But yes, I could see one in my driveway. But I'll wait for the hype to die down, the prices get closer to MSRP, and the first year of issues are fixed (if ever!).
It’s such an emotional product, and we see a lot of value in that brand,” he said. “That should in turn create significant value for the company.” Corporate doubletalk at it's finest--aka unmitigated BS! Given the ho-hum (IMO) Ranger, I don't think this will be that special. Will it out-Jeep a Jeep? Probably not. Will it flip over like the Ranger-derived Bronco II, or be like on Explorer on Firestones? I doubt it (and I certainly hope not!). Will it have all the quality of the new Explorer/Aviator? To be seen. Before COVID, this things success would be inversely proportional to it's price--and you can bet it will be overpriced, because, after all, our man at Ford tells us, it's such an 'emotional' product. Mediocrity (which in 2020 is a pretty high bar, granted) trying to masquerade as something more. I concede it is a better effort than GM's Blazer (which is an affront to the original Blazer). I also concede that old original Broncos (which I never EVER saw on the streets in the late 1970s, or ever, until a few years ago during the Woodward Cruise) are selling for lots of money these days. And that may be the reason for the delusion of sales numbers. Of course, they do this for a living, I do not. I could be wrong. But I think COVID will validate my views. After the initial surge of interest, I think Ford will be lucky to sell 10 thousand a month.