It’s official: The Ford Bronco SUV and the Ranger pickup are set to return to US showrooms. The automaker announced the news on Monday at the 2017 Detroit auto show.
According to Ford, the Ranger, which is currently available in certain international markets, will return to the US in 2019. The Bronco will follow suit in 2020.
As expected, both vehicles will be assembled at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Michigan.
“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,” Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas for Ford, said in a statement.
“Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged, and maneuverable pickup that’s built Ford tough,” he said. “Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill-seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”
Rumors about the Bronco’s and Ranger’s return have been floating around the auto industry for a couple of years. In 2015, both Bloomberg and The Detroit News reported that Ford’s product planning team was considering the two models for a comeback.
Even with the official announcement, few details are available. However, both decisions make a tremendous amount of sense.
The Bronco was Ford’s flagship SUV from the late 1960s until it was canceled in 1996 and replaced with the Expedition. The Expedition had four doors instead of two, and Ford believed it would be better positioned to directly compete with General Motors’ full-size Tahoe and Suburban models.
These days, the SUV market is on fire, and the availability of a new premium SUV is worth its weight in gold. The Bronco is likely to be positioned at or near the top of the brand’s SUV hierarchy and should help Ford’s profit margin and transaction prices. In addition, the return of the Bronco should inject new life into the model’s loyal but long-suffering band of enthusiasts.
From the early 1980s until 2011, the Ranger was a well-regarded compact pickup that sold very well in the US.
Unlike previous iterations of the Ranger, the upcoming edition will be a midsize truck poised to compete with GM’s recently revived Canyon/Colorado.
Although the Ranger name may be defunct in the US market, Ford has been selling a midsize truck with the name overseas for nearly 20 years.
Ford, like many others, abandoned the compact-pickup market during the late 2000s, when growth in the segment slowed, and instead focused on the development of more profitable and larger trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. However, with the recent return of the GM duo and a revamped Toyota Tacoma, there is new life in the once dormant segment – albeit with slightly larger vehicles.