Ford re­vives its iconic Bronco SUV

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Free Press staff writer Mark Phe­lan con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Phoebe Wall Howard

The Ford Bronco, an iconic Amer­i­can off-roader, has re-emerged af­ter a 24-year ab­sence.

Ford tapped a coun­try singer and two rock climbers to talk about the Bronco in a se­ries of 3-minute sto­ries cre­ated to de­but Mon­day night on three Dis­ney-owned TV chan­nels and YouTube.

Ford has said it plans to chal­lenge Jeep with the new Bronco, es­pe­cially in the off-road mar­ket.

“The (Jeep) Wran­gler will al­ways have its loyal fol­low­ing,” said Martin French, U.S. man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Berylls Strat­egy Ad­vi­sors, an au­to­mo­tive con­sul­tancy in Royal Oak, Michi­gan. “But the icon is back with vengeance. Ford means busi­ness. This is the shot in the arm that con­sumers and deal­ers want and need.”

The Bronco, built from 1966 to 1996, de­vel­oped a cult fol­low­ing and now com­mands high prices from col­lec­tors. It was dis­con­tin­ued in the wake of O.J.

Simp­son’s at­tempt to elude police in a white Bronco on na­tional TV in 1994.

Con­sumers will see the small Bronco Sport SUV in show­rooms later this year. The two-door and four-door Bronco will be re­leased in the spring of 2021.

“We started this project sev­eral years ago,” said Win­ston Landin, Ford’s global di­rec­tor of con­sumer in­sights. “The foun­da­tional prin­ci­ple in the be­gin­ning was re­ally the fact that the Bronco had al­ready been a brand and there’s a strong her­itage around the Bonco. That’s im­por­tant be­cause the ve­hi­cle would need to de­liver what’s true for the Bronco — ca­pa­bil­ity, dura­bil­ity and of course the de­sign. There’s a lot of emo­tional con­nec­tion that peo­ple had with this spe­cific brand.”

The un­veil­ing of the all-new Bronco and Bronco Sport comes at a cru­cial time for Ford. Its ex­ec­u­tives have pre­dicted bold gains in a mar­ket seg­ment that has room for growth.

The Ford Bronco will be built at the au­tomaker’s assem­bly plant in Wayne, Michi­gan.

The Bronco Sport will be built at the Her­mosillo plant in Her­mosillo, Sonora, Mex­ico.

Ford has said it is ex­pect­ing to re­port a $5 bil­lion loss for the sec­ond quar­ter, so this high-pro­file prod­uct plays an es­sen­tial role in the com­pany’s port­fo­lio.

The price for the two-door 2021 Bronco be­gins at $29,995 for the base model, in­clud­ing des­ti­na­tion fees. The four­door base model be­gins at $34,695 in­clud­ing fees.

RYAN GARZA/USA TODAY NET­WORK

The Ford Bronco is back af­ter a 24-year ab­sence and will be re­leased in spring 2021.

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