Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Ford Announces US-Bound Ranger, Bronco; What Does This Mean for Our Ranger and Everest?
Twelve years after Ford teased the return of the Bronco (some of the accompany photos in this story is a design concept done way back in 2004), they have finally confirmed the rumors: it’s coming back to American showrooms in 2020. In the same breath, they’ve also announced the return of their mid-sized pickup truck on American soil: the Ranger. That one is arriving stateside in 2019. While it’s hard to fully understand why Americans are having their panties in a twist over the Bronco and Ranger, what’s more important is what this means for the global Ranger and Everest.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas said in his speech: “Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.” His statement clearly signifies two things: first that the US-bound Bronco is moving a size up from a small two-door SUV (it’s the precursor to the Explorer) to a mid-sized four-door SUV; second, that it’s going to be a ladder-on-frame SUV that’s going to be capable in all sorts of terrain.
With Ford already leveraging its global network of design and engineering centers for vehicle development, it’s pretty obvious that they’ll tap into their T6 platform which they’ve already heavily invested in. Already underpinning the current Ranger and Everest, it’s already been reported that the Asia-Pacific Development Center in Australia, home to the T6, is spearheading the Bronco’s development alongside the US-market Ranger.
The platform itself is not too old having debuted with the Ranger in 2011. However, depending on the flexibility of the T6 platform itself, it could mean one of two things: first, Ford will need to fast track the development of a new platform, coming up with one that’s more flexible to fulfill the needs of the Ranger, Everest, and Bronco. Second, they could simply use the existing platform and modify things like the wheelbase. But the way things are looking, it’s going to be more of the latter.
Using the existing platform is already a given based on the number of Ranger test mules running around the Ford headquarters in Michigan. And besides, with T6-based vehicles now being made in Thailand, South Africa, and Argentina, it’s likely going to be cheaper for Ford to just adopt this platform for the US market rather than have all its other plants re-tool for a new one. Finally, the adaptability of the T6 platform has been shown already in Brazil. Troller is a Brazilian carmaker that Ford gobbled up in 2007. Their first new product is the Troller T4 (see photos below), a no-frills two-door SUV based off, you guessed it, a shortened Everest platform.
Now, Ford’s move to offer the Ranger and Bronco for the US market could mean a full-model change for the global Ranger and Everest in the next three years. This prediction is based on Ford’s predictable refresh cycle every three to four years. Thus, the Everest might actually skip a minor refresh (or if it ever does go on a refresh, it will be very minor) and go for a full model change in 2019 as a 2020 model. Meanwhile, since the Ranger has seen one major refresh in 2015 (the original model came out in 2011), it’s ripe for a full-blown change by 2018 as a 2019 model. This pretty much aligns with Ford’s US plan of bringing the Ranger and Bronco to US showrooms in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Though design and mechanical details are scarce at the moment (it’s still two years away after all), it’s been suggested countless times that Ford is looking at the Bronco to have the same off-road ability as the Jeep Wrangler. Whether or not they can achieve this with a mid-sized SUV that’s supposed to slot below the Everest and Explorer in terms of price remains to be seen. What’s been confirmed though is that Ford will take on a Chevrolet Colorado-like approach. In a Twitter post, Mike Levine, Ford product communications manager for North America said: “The all-new Ford Ranger will be tailored to the needs of North American customers with unique front styling, engines and features.”