Ford Relaunches Bronco Brand and Targets Big Jeep Off-Road Sales | CTV News

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DETROIT – When it comes to rugged vehicles that go off the road, on rocks and in mud to discover nature, Jeep has for years grabbed the American market. Now Ford is reviving the Bronco brand in order to take a slice.

Later this month, the company will launch two new all-terrain vehicles, a Ranger pickup-size Bronco that will be available in two- and four-door versions, and the smaller Escape-size Bronco Sport, both for take sales of high-end Fiat Chrysler. Mark.

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

Ford wants to avoid ties with OJ. He moved the date he would unveil the SUVs from July 9, Simpson’s birthday, to July 13. The automaker believes that the name Bronco will evoke fond memories of its off-road heritage during a three-decade race that ended in 1996. When introduced in August 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 is a huge brand cache here,” said Kumar Galhotra, President of the Americas at Ford. “That’s why we felt strong enough to be able to build a family of vehicles. ”

Galhotra says people are passionate about Bronco, highlighting the high prices that old restored vehicles command and the frequent searches for the name on the Internet.

Although the new Broncos will share some parts with other Ford vehicles, they have reinforced suspensions and have been designed for off-road use, the company said. They have also been tested under torture on the trails and in conditions of extreme heat and cold and will come with a new system to handle all terrains. All will be delivered as standard with four-wheel drive. Specific vehicle details will not be released until the July 13 event. The Sport will go on sale at the end of this year and the larger Bronco will be released at dealerships in the spring.

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

The Broncos don’t seem to specifically target the best-selling Jeep, the large SUV Grand Cherokee and the smallest Wrangler, he said. He is surprised that another automaker did not come after the Wrangler, a traditional-looking Jeep with a removable roof and doors.

If the Bronco is able to reduce sales of the Grand Cherokee, it probably won’t be long, said Kelleher. A redesigned Grand Cherokee is expected to be released next year, he said.

“If Bronco takes a little stake in the market, soon after, they may not be the newcomer,” 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 could increase the size of the off-road vehicle market, with more people now opting for car trips and outdoor trips by vehicle. The Bronco, she said, will have to prove its off-road capability.

“Jeep owns just about all of this territory,” she said. “It was too late that they had a little competition. “

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