FORD has confirmed the Bronco nameplate will be reborn as an all-new SUV for the US market, although the car could also one day go on sale in Australia.
The announcement of the iconic truck’s return was made overnight at the 2017 Detroit motor show.
When it arrives in 2020 it will be the first Bronco since 1996, although Ford released a concept car in 2004 that proved its desire to revive a badge first seen in 1966, and even built in Australia.
To be based on the T6 architecture that underpins the Ford Ranger ute that was designed and engineered in Australia, the Bronco is expected to be very different to the chunky two-door made famous by OJ Simpson fleeing police in a low-speed pursuit in Los Angeles that was broadcast live on TV in 1994, complete with throngs of spectators in tow.
For starters it's likely to have a more traditional five-door layout in keeping with a shift to more practical SUVs.
However, it won’t simply be a rebadged version of the Ford Everest, an SUV based on the Ranger.
“It’s different than Everest,” confirmed Ford product development boss Raj Nair. “It’s an incremental vehicle to Everest.”
While the born again Bronco will be designed and engineered in Detroit, it’s believed that Ford Australia will play a role in testing and development at its You Yangs proving ground near Melbourne.
Nair said the bulk of the engineering work would be done in Dearborn. “Australia remains the lead for our T6 platform,” he told Wheels. “The Bronco is off our T6 platform but the engineering will be done in Dearborn.”
In confirming the Bronco’s return Ford’s North American boss Joe Hinrichs said it would be a highly capable off-roader.
“This is a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for the thrill-seekers who want freedom and off-road functionality, with the space and versatility of an SUV,” he said.
“It's capable of conquering everything from your daily commute to gravel roads and boulders – and, of course, the name you’ve known and loved for decades.”
Ford gave no details of the Bronco, leaving the internet guessing as to what drivetrains and configurations the car would take on.
Nair and other executives refused to answer questions on drivetrains and size, although it's fair to assume there will be retro design influences – as with the 2004 concept car.
As for right-hand-drive production or other markets in which the Bronco could be sold, Ford is refusing to reveal its options. “We’ll have more to announce on the markets of that later,” said Nair.
However, given the architecture is designed with right-hand-drive markets in mind, it at least should be feasible – provided Ford Australia wants it.
Unsurprisingly, Ford Australia is also remaining quiet. “It's a future program and more specific product details will come in time,” a spokesperson told Wheels.
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