The new Ford Bronco line-up appears to be clicking with potential buyers, at least if advance reservations are any indication.
One month after the official debut of the new off-road product line, the Detroit automaker says it has received 165,000 deposits of at least $100 apiece, and that’s just for the two- and four-door Bronco models set to go into production next year. Ford isn’t releasing figures covering reservations for the smaller Bronco Sport that will roll into showrooms before the end of 2020.
That said, it appears demand for the four-door Sport model is also building. “We doubled (production plans for) the First Edition” trim, said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s director of sales, service and marketing. “We blew though (the original target) so far and went from 3,500 to 7,000.”
During a media event this week, Ford gave more insight into the development of the new Bronco line-up, as well as some insight into future plans. While company officials declined to confirm reports that more variants – such as the rumored Bronco Raptor – and additional models are in the works, they provided a look at some of the special edition concept that they have developed.
- The Bronco Four-Door Outer Banks Fishing Guide, purpose-built to assist a fishing guide working waters off the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It includes holders for four fishing rods on the front end, a soft top, roof rails and crossbars, and a Yakima roof rack;
- The Bronco Sport Trail Rig, with 31-inch tires, a lift kit, a RIGID LED light bar and a front nudge bar;
- The Bronco Two-Door Trail Rig, which is billed as “the ultimate hardcore trail rider,” with a modular front bumper, tube doors, a 40-inch RIGID LED light bar and other features;
- The Bronco Sport TOW RZR, based on the Badlands edition and designed to enhance towing and cargo hauling; and
- The Bronco Sport Off-Roadeo Adventure Patrol which will serve as the official vehicle for the four Bronco Off-Roadeo events that will be offered to buyers starting next year.
The Roadeos will give Bronco customers the chance to test their mettle during serious off-road multi-day adventures. All costs, but for transportation, will be included with Bronco models and select versions of the Bronco Sport, including the Badlands edition.
The first of the four planned Bronco Roadeo locations, Ford announced, will be set up in the Texas Hill Country outside Austin and will open in the summer of 2021, announced Mark Grueber, the marketing chief for Bronco.
The automaker has big plans for the Bronco family which will be operated as a sub-brand of Ford. Among other things, it will have its own marketing and sales program – though Bronco products will continue to be sold through Ford dealerships.
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One key element of that strategy will be the development of a wide range of accessories for the three different Bronco models. At launch, about 200 will be in the catalogue for the Two- and Four-Door models, with about 100 for Bronco Sport. These will range from winches to tube doors, lighting to roof racks.
Ford plans to work these accessories into the factory price of each Bronco, rather than as after-sale add-ons, the industry norm. That might sound like a small detail but it will allow buyers to finance those add-ons, a strategy that could boost demand significantly, several Ford officials suggested.
For lease customers, meanwhile, those accessories will be factored into the monthly note and, because they will be depreciable, that will lower the additional cost.
While many accessories will be installed at the factory, Ford is setting up eight “FADS,” or Ford Accessory Dealer Network plants where additional add-ons will be installed before delivery to a customer. The goal is to work with dealers to get “quick” modifications made to reduce the time between order and handover, said LaNeve.
Ford claims to have put the SUV boom into motion with the 1965 launch of the original Bronco, but it effectively ceded the market for serious off-road vehicles to Jeep and Land Rover when it pulled the line out of production in 1996. It seemed a logical move at the time, said Grueber, as the U.S. market was shifting from truck-like SUVs to more car-like crossovers.
But after years of decline, the traditional, body-on-frame sport-ute segment is staging a big comeback and Ford hopes it can ride that wave with the reborn Bronco models, as well as the addition of the Bronco Sport. Among other things, Ford says that all future Bronco models will come with all-wheel-drive, in one form or another, making it the only brand with that feature as standard equipment.