Ford Invests Into Future Bronco and Ranger
The United Automobile Workers and Ford Motor Company have reached a future strategy agreement that include $10,000 signing bonuses for UAW members, the creation, or at least retention, of 8,500 jobs, and a $9 billion investment in new U.S. products, two of which include the Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV.
Now UAW members must vote on the tentative plan.
This is the latest and most concrete news in the rumor mill surrounding the Ranger and Bronco – two vehicles that have been the topic of heavy speculation for more than a year.
According to the Detroit Free Press’ unnamed source, production of the Focus and C-Max will move to Mexico in 2018 and Ranger production will start shortly after that, with the Bronco following sometime before 2020.
At this point, there are still no details on the Ranger and Bronco. Many suspect Ford will adapt the U.S.-spec Ranger from its global Ranger platform, with updated in the powertrain, safety, and body and interior designs. The Bronco is speculated to be a rebadged version of Ford’s Everest SUV, itself an SUV version of the Ranger pickup.
However, such an SUV could clutter Ford’s SUV lineup and provide unwanted competition to the Explorer. Perhaps Ford will stick with the Bronco’s roots and build a more rough-and-tumble SUV with Jeep Wrangler-like characteristics.
Regardless of which way Ford goes on the Bronco, it seems the two iconic Blue-Oval nameplates are ripe for resurrection.
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Why it matters
Besides the good news for union members, this deal helps reveal Ford’s future plans and products. Ford has every reason to build the Ranger, though it has claimed producing a midsize truck will steal sales from its full-size F-Series trucks. Looking at General Motors, the new Colorado and Canyon pickups are growing in popularity month after month while Silverado sales continue to rise. The Toyota Tacoma now sports an all-new design for 2016, helping it keep its tight grasp on its sales leadership.
On the other hand, an Everest-sized vehicle could clutter up Ford’s large-size SUV lineup. Likely smaller than the Expedition but slightly larger than the Explorer, the body-on-frame Bronco could offer greater cargo, towing, and off-road abilities over the Explorer, but in a more compact size compared to the Expedition.
Conversely, Ford could make the Bronco smaller than the Explorer with a more traditional SUV flair in hopes of stealing sales from the Jeep Wrangler. Big tires, an EcoBoost engine, and an honest, two-speed transfer case would make for an interesting rig. Whether or not Ford will build such a vehicle is yet unseen, but the chances are smaller than the automaker building something more family- and eco-friendly that would appeal to the masses.
Read our review on Ford Ranger here.