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Detroit show: Ford to build Ranger-based Bronco

Pointer tool: The 2014 Ford Troller T4 concept remains the best reference point for the design influence behind the all-new Bronco now confirmed for production as a global model from 2020.

Australia waits as Ford confirms T6 Ranger underpinnings for reborn Bronco due 2020

Ford logo10 Jan 2017

FORD has officially confirmed that the Bronco nameplate will be brought out of retirement and enter production in the US as a global model from 2020, with the iconic hardcore SUV underpinned by the Australian-developed T6 Ranger architecture.

The American auto giant used the Detroit motor show this week to confirm the return to North America of both the Bronco and the Ranger utility, the latter arriving a year earlier in 2019.

Both vehicles will be built at Ford’s Michigan assembly plant, and while right-hand-drive production of the reborn Bronco – whether in the US or other plants such as Thailand, where the Australian-spec Ranger and related Everest SUV are manufactured – is yet to be confirmed, it clearly makes sense.

Despite the Australian team’s involvement in the vehicle architecture, GoAuto understands that the Bronco’s engineering and design will be managed at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and that the SUV will not simply be a rebadged version of the Everest.

Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy told GoAuto that the company could only confirm that the Bronco is a global vehicle and “will be sold in North America and beyond”.

“We’ll make announcements about other markets in the future,” he said.

Ford’s decision to bring back the Bronco emerged last year when a union boss revealed the plan when defending Ford president and CEO Mark Fields’ decision to shift production of the Focus small car from Michigan to Mexico – a move which drew heavy criticism during the US election campaign by (now president-elect) Donald Trump.

In announcing the plans for Bronco and Ranger in Detroit this week, Ford’s president of The Americas Joe Hinrichs said: “We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive.

“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 mid-size 4x4 utility for thrill-seekers who want to venture way beyond the city,” he said.

Details of the new Bronco remain scarce, with the 2014 Ford Troller T4 concept still the best reference point for the design influence behind the production model.

The new model will be a direct rival for the Jeep Wrangler, which points to a short-wheelbase version of the T6 ladder-frame chassis, although long-wheelbase and even extra-long-wheelbase derivatives are sure to be under consideration.

Plenty of Ranger/Everest mechanicals are certain to be carried over, but North America’s preference for petrol engines is likely to see a specific move in this department.

Ford discontinued the Bronco in 1996, ending a run of five generations built over three decades in North America.

The vehicle is perhaps best known in Australia for the infamous OJ Simpson slow-motion police chase through Los Angeles after the murder of his wife Nicole.

The Ranger was last sold in the US in 2011.

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