Ford is reviving the Bronco brand name, in a July 6, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ford is reviving the Bronco brand name, in a July 6, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ford revives Bronco brand, aims at Jeep’s big off-road sales

Two new off-road vehicles to be introduced

DETROIT — When it comes to rugged vehicles that go off the road, over rocks and into the mud to experience nature, Jeep for years has cornered the U.S. market.

Now Ford is reviving the Bronco brand name in an effort to take a slice.

Later this month the company will introduce two new off-road vehicles, a Ranger pickup-sized Bronco that will come in two- and four-door versions, and the smaller Escape-sized Bronco Sport, both aimed at taking sales from Fiat Chrysler’s top brand.

It won’t be easy for a brand best known as O.J. Simpson’s ride in a 1994 low-speed chase with Los Angeles police who wanted him on murder charges. Jeep has sold well over 800,000 vehicles for the past five years, and more than 900,000 in three of those years.

Ford wants to avoid the O.J. ties. It moved the date it would unveil the SUVs from July 9, Simpson’s birthday, to July 13. The automaker believes the Bronco name will evoke good memories from its off-road heritage during a three-decade run that ended in 1996. At its introduction in August of 1965, Ford called the Bronco a new line of sport utility vehicles, the first reference to SUVs from an American automaker, the company said.

“There’s a huge brand cache here,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of the Americas. “That’s why we felt strongly enough that we could build a family of vehicles.”

Galhotra says people are passionate about the Bronco, pointing to high prices that restored old vehicles are commanding and frequent searches for the name on the internet.

Although the new Broncos will share some parts with other Ford vehicles, they’ve got beefed up suspensions and were designed for off-road use, the company said. They’ve also been torture tested on trails and in extreme heat and cold and will come with a new system to manage all terrains. All will come standard with four-wheel-drive. Specific details of the vehicles won’t be released until the July 13 event. The Sport goes on sale late this year and the larger Bronco hits dealers next year.

David Kelleher, owner of a Jeep dealership in Glen Mills, Pa., near Philadelphia, says he’s happy to see the Bronco name return, but he’s not too worried about the threat to Jeep sales.

The Broncos don’t seem to be aimed specifically at Jeep’s top sellers, the Grand Cherokee large SUV and the smaller Wrangler, he said. He’s surprised that another automaker hasn’t come after the Wrangler, a traditional-looking Jeep with a removable roof and doors.

If the Bronco is able to dent sales of the Grand Cherokee, it probably won’t be for long, Kelleher said. A redesigned Grand Cherokee is due out next year, he said.

“If Bronco takes a little bit of a stake in the marketplace, shortly thereafter they may not be the new kid on the block anymore,” he said.

The Bronco name is highly recognized by consumers, says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive, but she doesn’t think it carries the weight of Jeep.

She said the coronavirus pandemic may increase the size of the market for off-road vehicles with more people now opting to take road trips and travel outdoors by vehicle. The Bronco, she said, will have to prove its off-road capability.

“Jeep has pretty much that territory all to itself,” she said. “It’s been overdue that they’ve had some competition.”

By The Associated Press

Vehicles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City of Wetaskiwin COVID-19 deaths increase to five

New COVID-19 death in the City of Wetaskiwin despite decrease in active cases.

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Maskwacis RCMP regular members, Community Tripartite Agreement (CTA) members and support staff proudly wore pink in support of Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 24, 2021. Supplied/ Maskwacis RCMP.
Maskwacis RCMP embraces Pink Shirt Day

Maskwacis RCMP engage in virtual presentations with schools on anti-bullying for Pink Shirt Day.

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Be kind and wear pink for Pink Shirt Day

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker is expected to sentence Satnam Singh Sandhu on Friday. Red Deer Advocate file photo
Updated: Sylvan Lake man pleads guilty to manslaughter for strangling wife in 2019

Kulvinder Sandhu was strangled and died in hospital several days later

Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Central Alberta man not criminally responsible for killing his father in 2020: judge

Psychiatrist testified Nicholas Johnson was psychotic when he killed his father

The cover of “Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care.” (Submitted)
Ponoka-born author writes history of old mental hospital

“Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care” covers 1911 to 1971

Todd Hirsch. (Image: screenshot)
ATB vice president gives financial forecast to Ponoka chamber

Predictions for reopening of the economy and recovery outlined

Most Read