Is An Upscale Fixed-Roof Bronco In The Works?
Even though Bronco production is currently halted, Ford is working around the clock to develop the model into a sub-brand while also looking to further develop some additional Bronco concepts.
The Bronco community likely remains upset, since what was widely viewed as a promising pickup model has now been canceled, and while we would have loved to see a Bronco with a truck bed, we nevertheless understand the company's decision and why this version didn't have a future. After all, Ford has multiple other pickup options in its lineup. If you really want a Bronco truck, we're sure that several aftermarket companies will gladly oblige, while adding a few of their custom touches in the process.
However, just days after the news about the cancellation of any official plans for a Bronco truck, we came across another rumor that's just as potentially exciting and likely even more plausible. Apparently, Ford is working on an upscale, fixed-roof version of the Bronco, and it should go to production in the next few years.
What's distinct about this take on the model is that there will be a fully closed version for the first time in Bronco history -- without the signature removable roof. As we know, a removable roof has historically been one of the Bronco's key features.
From 1966 onwards, all Broncos sported removable plastic tops, and that feature was kept intact when introducing the 2021 model. Simply put, the Bronco, as the definitive off-road SUV, needed to have that open-air feel, which made it more desirable and much more exciting to drive.
The insider's information states that the 2021 Bronco design team did include a fixed-roof version in its initial development plans. However, the main focus was on soft-top and removable roof options. After all, Ford wanted to revive the new Bronco while staying as closely as possible to the original in terms of design.
But, even though the modern-day Bronco skillfully recreated the look and feel of the classic models, current market trends tend to demand a bit more variety. That's why the fixed-roof version would be a valuable addition and could help Ford achieve even more sales success.
At the moment, Bronco roofs are a source of substantial controversy, as well as being the reason for yet another production delay, which makes it reasonable that Ford would consider the roofs' currently problematic effect on market demand while being concerned about the potential fallout, should people start to believe that the roofs will continue to be a vulnerable feature of the model.
Introducing a fixed-roof model could effectively stop most negative plastic roof-related stories while refocusing the public's attention on how the Bronco drives, looks, and performs, which should be the main emphasis, anyway.
A fixed-roof option could also potentially open the doors of access to more upscale buyers and would be a welcome addition to the whole Bronco sub-brand idea. At the moment, one of Bronco's competitors is the new Land Rover Defender, which comes with similar power, technology, and retro-inspired looks.
At the same time, the Defender has a much higher MSRP and is delivered as a fixed-roof model only. Not to mention that it can also be had with a potent V8 option. The insane prices and dealer markups some buyers are willing to pay for the Bronco First Edition (MSRP: $61,000) show that the Bronco's appeal isn't limited to just to working-class customers. The popularity and extreme prices commanded by classic Broncos also suggest that the Bronco nameplate is more of a lifestyle vehicle than the rugged off-roader it once was.
All of this would seem to make a fixed-roof Bronco quite a potentially profitable idea that could position the model in a more high-end market while snagging some customers from Land Rover. Some have even suggested that Lincoln could get its own Bronco-based off-road SUV model, which would be pitted against the likes of the Mercedes G-Class.
Still, at the moment, there is no concrete proof that Ford's luxury brand is interested in entering the off-road market, even though it currently has a successful line of upscale SUVs.
The fixed-roof Bronco would not only offer a more comfortable, isolated, and cozier driving environment, but it would also deliver a bit more interior room, which would add to its upscale appearance.
Yes, it would lose some of its rugged charm and off-road appeal, but at the same time it would gain a level of perceived maturity and, paired with some more powerful engine options (we're still hoping for a V8, but that remains unlikely to happen), it would be a truly world-class luxury off-roader.