By on August 26, 2021

Ford had been rumored to be developing a pickup variant of the Bronco with the assumed strategy of competing with the likes of Jeep’s Gladiator by 2024. However, reports have surfaced that Blue Oval is notifying suppliers the program is being abandoned. While we knew that there was supposed to be another Bronco vehicle in development, Ford never confirmed it and it was unclear exactly how far along the program had managed to get. But as the company continued introducing new trucks (e.g. Maverick and Lightning) we were over here wondering how far the pickup market could realistically be stretched.

Apparently, so did Ford. 

Originally intended to be built at the automaker’s Michigan Assembly Plant responsible for the Bronco, Ranger, and employing a sizable portion of my extended family over the years, there was certainly room for a lower-volume variant of either. But the Bronco pickup isn’t happening. According to Automotive News, communications with equipment suppliers have been used to verify that the program had been scrapped entirely.

Considering the company recently previewed two other upcoming pickups and intends to introduce a Raptor variant of the similarly-sized Ranger, running with the Bronco pickup would have probably left Ford tripping over itself. Meanwhile, the whole industry is finding it incredibly difficult to source parts (it’s not just semiconductors that are hard to come by) with much confidence. Why gamble on something with obvious product overlap when the F-Series is still going to sell and you’ve already got other trucks on the way?

There’s also the excuse of the manufacturer not wanting to break from its stated electrification goals. Though it’s always perplexing when outlets take these seriously. Following the automotive industry for my entire adult life (professionally and recreationally) has taught me that corporate promises are effectively meaningless and targets are easily revised without the majority of people noticing.

From AN:

Adding what would have been another gasoline-powered entry in its lineup also undermines a company goal: to generate 40 percent of global sales with electric vehicles by 2030, a target Ford announced in May. The company has greatly expanded electrification plans over the past year, including backing a nonbinding federal target of emissions-free vehicles representing half of sales by 2030.

Still, executives have indicated the family will expand beyond the two-door Bronco, four-door Bronco and Bronco Sport crossover offered now. Recent spy photos have shown what appear to be a Bronco performance variant and a potential hybrid model under development.

Early reception to the new vehicles has been positive. Ford has sold 62,820 Bronco Sports and 4,078 Broncos in the U.S. this year through July, though early builds of the Bronco have been plagued by problems with roofs produced by the supplier Webasto.

Here’s what your author believes is the more likely scenario. Ford saw that Jeep Gladiator wasn’t the crazy smash hit that everyone thought it could be and realized it was going to be building something that would probably end up stealing sales from other Ford vehicles. Combine that with our current less-than-reliable supply chains and the whole program starts to look like a bad idea.

But that doesn’t mean it is. While almost every automotive enthusiast community seems to be evaporating, 4×4 recreation nuts appear to be growing in number. I know several people who have purchased Jeep Wranglers (their first) since 2019 and a couple have told me that they like the idea of something a little easier to live with around town that can still handle a gnarly trail on the weekend. That’s kind of where the Bronco lives. The now-canceled Ford would have presumably carried over those traits in pickup guise, similarly to how the Gladiator takes what’s good about the Wrangler and adds enhanced towing capabilities — providing some utility for campers (which have also been growing in number since 2015). With everything pointing to these kinds of lifestyle vehicles becoming all the rage, it might be better to just shelve the Bronco pickup temporarily.

[Image: Ford]

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21 Comments on “Report: Ford Bronco Pickup Cancelled...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Too bad; it wouldn’t have needed that pesky roof.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m interested in the Bronco, but after reading TFL Truck and their roof issues, I’m staying away. I would prefer a good ‘ol all metal fixed roof. The same mentality keeps me away from glass roofs etc… for roll over protection. The cancelation of the p/u, does this equate to white collar workers staying home? Can’t really see engineering and manufacturing processes being effectively worked out over Zoom. FoMoCo is starting to emulate the Ford Foundation. It’s a shame.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        No, I think the article is right about the reason.

        A Bronco pickup is one too many in the Ford lineup. The F-series, Ranger, Maverick, and F-150EV are all going to be popular, but it’s hard to see how a Bronco pickup fills a niche that those products don’t.

        But to your point about working from home – in-person becomes more necessary the closer your job is to testing and production. As an engineer, I can do a lot from home if I want, but eventually some in-person work is essential. It’s also good for mental health.

        • 0 avatar

          Ford doesn’t need a Bronco pickup. They already have 4: Super Duty, F150, Ranger, and Maverick.

          They don’t need another “offroad” pickup with the Ranger Raptor on its way. Add to that list, the F150 Raptor and HD Tremor.

      • 0 avatar

        “? Can’t really see engineering and manufacturing processes being effectively worked out over Zoom. ”

        I’ve done hardware work over zoom and other stuff. Worked with the mechanical engineer on the design. He’d send me his latest, then I’d 3D print it to test it out. If I needed to, I could do small cast aluminum as well. For bigger stuff, there’s a shop 4 miles away that I can send a file to and they can do whatever I need in aluminum or steel. The only thing I had to send out for was bearing balls.

    • 0 avatar

      they would have been dumb to not offer a removable top

  • avatar

    Stellantis doesn’t have any mid-size trucks beyond the Gladiator (the “Dakota” cousin is apparently cancelled too), while Ford has the Ranger (which probably has even better name recognition than Bronco).

    So I say the best solution is to make the Ranger better not to sell the Lumina, Corsica, and Beretta all at the same time.

    As an aside, it is surprising how few f*cks manufacturers seem to have when it comes to mid-size trucks. While the volumes aren’t to half-ton level it seems like they deserve more investment than a mild refresh every 6 years.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Isn’t the Ranger – at the heart of it – really the Bronco pickup?

    • 0 avatar

      Technically yes. I suspect that Ford leveraged it’s ownership of the Brazilian Troller (which uses the Ranger platform) to develop the Bronco.

      Look up “Troller” and you’ll see what I mean.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure why the even considered building something that will just cannibalize sales from the Ranger and F150 in the first place.

  • avatar

    Makes sense. Rumor is they couldn’t figure out how to make the roof work properly.

    Plus, they already have a Bronco pickup. It’s called the Ranger. And as mediocre as it is, one positive is that the roof works

  • avatar

    The only problem with the Gladiator is that it’s too expensive.

    If it were cheap and capable, like the original Jeeps, they’d sell a lot more of them.

    But it might be more profitable to sell fewer (but more expensive) trucks.

    I’d have bought a Gladiator if they were cheaper. But, I just can’t see paying the current price of the Gladiator for anything that isn’t an EV. And I’ll pay more for stainless steel.

    • 0 avatar

      I overall agree.

      “And I’ll pay more for stainless steel.”

      Did you mean aluminum as in reference to the F-150 line?

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is that the Gladiator likely has the highest manufacturer profit margin of any non-specialty vehicle (American or otherwise) currently on the market.

      Gotta give Stellantis credit – they know how to squeeze gold from a hunk of outdated lead….

    • 0 avatar

      Gladiator sales are still increasing every quarter. They are on track to sell close to 100k this year. In context the Tacoma sells an insane 200k plus a year. Ranger and the GM twins run around 100K a year. So the Gladiator is right there in the market, and well in front of the Ridgeline and Frontier.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’m sure there will be some aftermarket company who will build them to order like the pre Gladiator Jeep conversions which were actually quite attractive. They were a bit shorter, more maneuverable and came as a regular and extra cab.

  • avatar

    Plenty of other trucks, even in their lineup. Probably a smart move.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford needs to concentrate its efforts on getting more chips and not on more truck models. Getting more vehicles on dealers lots and reducing the amount of time to get customer orders full filled. Also how about putting more emphasis on quality and actually releasing new models timely.

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