HOT ON the heels of yesterday’s official confirmation of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer being re-introduced to the American market, Ford has confirmed what we all already knew: it will be bringing back the Ford Bronco and the Ranger mid-size ute to the USA.
While this might have been the worst-kept secret in the industry, especially after a United Auto Workers (UAW) union staffer last year leaked that the two new vehicles would be built in Detroit, there is news in it for Australia. Both the new Bronco and the US Ranger will ride on the next generation T6 platform which is currently in development in Australia.
The T6 underpins the current Ranger and Everest wagon, and Ford has told us its Melbourne facility is working on the next generation of this body-on-frame architecture. However, what Ford wouldn’t say is whether or not the Bronco will come to Australia, only stating that it is “a global vehicle, so it will be considered for markets around the world.”
“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas. “Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged and manoeuvrable pick-up that’s ‘Built Ford Tough’. Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill-seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”
2004 Ford Bronco concept revealed at that year’s North American International Show
This points to the Bronco being a rugged and go-anywhere 4x4, but if it is to ride on the T6 platform we’re tipping it will be more Toyota FJ Cruiser with IFS than dual live-axle Jeep Wrangler. No details have been released on the Bronco other than it will be a 2020 model made in the USA. Hopefully it will stay true to its roots and be a capable two-door wagon.
Fan-made 2020 Ford Bronco renderings, designed by Bronco6g (www.bronco6g.com)
Bronco enthusiasts’ computer generated images have tipped what a new Bronco might look like, while we created our own way back when the Everest was first announced. But the 2020 Bronco could grow to be a five-door wagon.
Our 4X4 Australia Ford Bronco concept
“It’s different than Everest,” confirmed Ford’s product development boss Raj Nair. “It’s an incremental vehicle to Everest.”
“Australia remains the lead for our T6 platform,” Nair told Australia’s Wheel Magazine at the Detroit Auto show. “The Bronco is off our T6 platform but the engineering will be done in Dearborn.”
It has been said the US Ranger, also set to launch in 2020, will look nothing like the Ranger currently available here in Australia, so that points to a US-only body totally different to our Thai-built one. The US Ranger could also see a diesel engine return to that segment there. One of the Ranger’s key competitors in the USA will be the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon with Duramax 2.8 power that is selling well there.
Ford also confirmed at Detroit that its ever popular F-150 pick-up will get a diesel engine in 2018, and that will be a derivative of the Ford UK-made ‘Lion’ turbo-diesel V6 as found in Land Rover products.
It will be a case of everything old is new again when Bronco, Ranger, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer all return to the US market in 2020.