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

Seven vying to lead ECN

Challengers to incumbent include NGCI president

Two females arrested for carjacking in Leduc; sword and bear spray used as weapon

Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis female arrested for carjacking.

94 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, two more deaths

1,146 active cases with 9,891 recovered cases

UCP government making changes to the Assessment Model Review; County of Wetaskiwin could see a 70 per cent hike in taxes

Changes would cause a 35.5-70.7 per cent residential mill rate for the County of Wetaskiwin.

COVID-19: One more death reported in central zone

Number of active cases has decreased by more than 200 since last week

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gathered in Wetaskiwin, Alta. Tuesday August 4,… Continue reading

Other communities can learn from Sexsmith: AUMA president

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is an advocacy group for urban municipalities

Proposed oil and gas assessment changes could have big impact on municipal revenues

Croup representing urban municipalities is concerned about the outcome

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Alberta man’s body recovered from Okanagan Lake after five-day search

‘The depth of the water, as well as the topography of the lake, made the recovery of the deceased very challenging’ - RCMP

Feds look to finalize deal with airlines amid contact tracing concerns

Feds look to finalize deal with airlines amid contact tracing concerns

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Booking.com cuts workforce by thousands as travel atrophies

Booking.com cuts workforce by thousands as travel atrophies

Ford COO Jim Farley to lead company, CEO Hackett to retire

Ford COO Jim Farley to lead company, CEO Hackett to retire

Most Read