Will The Bronco Be A Separate Sub-Brand Soon?
It's no secret that the Ford Motor Company is at probably the biggest turning point in its 118-year long history. The global circumstances, environmental concerns and a changing market have all forced Ford's managers to make radical moves in order to evolve from an automotive manufacturer to a "mobility company."
It bears mentioning that Ford was the first automotive manufacturer to accept and embrace the inevitable downsizing of powerplants (responding to it by introducing EcoBoost turbocharged engines), the first to drop all passenger vehicles in favor of trucks and SUVs, and the first to use one of its most cherished nameplates on an all-electric vehicle.
So, there's little question that Ford has proven its willingness to make bold moves and is no doubt very capable of change when needed, but what's the next step?
Apparently, the next step is to introduce more sub-brands designed to appeal to specific market niches and buyer types. According to Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, the company has an enormous arsenal of famous names accumulated through its history and it would be a shame not to revive them in the future.
On one hand, he does have a point, Ford does have fantastic potential to remaster some of its legends for the 21st century, but on the other, there's an obvious danger of ruining those brands if these reintroductions aren't done right.
Over the years, Ford has had mixed success with its sub-brands. Although they date back as long as 60 years ago, ill-fated Edsel and Continental sub-brands are ghosts that still haunts Ford executives. However, today, the market is entirely different than it was in the '50s and the '60s -- it's definitely more open to the concept of "spin-off" models for niche buyers.
Just look at the success of the Mustang Mach-E, for example. Here we have an all-electric SUV, something that is by definition the polar opposite of the fire-breathing, V8-powered, two-door muscle car the Mustang is and has been for the last five and half decades.
Even though Ford has toyed with the idea of expanding the Mustang lineup over the years by adding sedan or even station wagon versions, no CEO was ever confident enough to try to push this idea into production reality.
But modern-day Ford's executives did just that by using one of the most valuable nameplates in the entire industry -- Mustang -- on a thoroughly dissimilar vehicle. This was a move so controversial that it made the muscle car community plenty angry.
Even though most car buffs think of its branding as a complete travesty, the truth is that the Mach E is a pretty accomplished electric vehicle that's already proven to be a hit with environmentally-cautious customers. Ford noted that it has tallied about 40,000 reservations and has already sold over 10,000 examples worldwide.
It looks like the Mach-E is well-loved amongst the EV crowd and its Mustang connection has just helped make it more cool and desirable. Seeing that its bold move has worked just as planned, Ford is now thinking of making a "performance sub-brand" that will incorporate all dynamic vehicles under one moniker.
In this potential group is the Ford GT supercar, the Mustang and Shelby muscle cars, Edge ST and Explorer ST performance SUVs, and the upcoming Mach-E GT, which sports a 0 to 60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds.
Although their approach to performance and source of power may vary considerably, they all share the same DNA. Something along the lines of BMW's M Performance or Mercedes' AMG divisions, but with specific Ford flavor and a unique approach.
All of that brings us to the modern-day Bronco and its fantastic resurrection after a 25-year hiatus. Even though the 2021 Bronco is still in the pre-production phase, it's evident that Ford has a significant hit on its hands -- not just in terms of mere anticipated production numbers but also as a prime example of a new concept of SUV vehicles.
The Bronco and Bronco Sport are already a sort of specific and off-road dedicated sub-brand. The popularity of both models, the number of orders already accumulated, and the particular type of customers they attract distinguish these Bronco brothers from the rest of Ford's SUV offerings.
The recent news of Ford supporting the introduction of separate Bronco-only dealerships is a clear sign that company is planning to group its vehicles under several new sub-brands, most likely organized according to specific aspects of use.
In this case, we can expect that Bronco will be headlining an off-road sub-brand that will include all current and future all-terrain models like the Ranger Raptor, Bronco Warthog, and F-150 FX4. An exciting aspect of this grouping centers on whether the F-150 Raptor will be included, since it's a high-performance off-road vehicle that can win a drag race on the street and yet is also capable of crossing the desert at triple-digit speeds.
One of the strengths of any car brand or sub-brand, for that matter, lies in the number of models it has under its wing. If Ford wants to make its sub-brands strong, it will need to introduce several specific models. That brings us back to the Bronco lineup, which can accommodate several more cars under its name.
The first thing that comes to our mind is a Bronco pickup, which is something that Ford is currently considering. Although a potential Bronco EV is still a long way off, a hybrid is a possibility, along with a few other variants, like a panel van or fixed-roof models.
With the upcoming Maverick, a compact pickup truck based on the same platform as the Bronco Sport, there's even a chance of a smaller but undeniably cool Maverick Raptor, which could find its place in Ford's new off-road sub-brand.
We hope that Ford will find a way to produce a Bronco with a V8 engine, even though initial reports state that it will not be the case. However, there is some hope, since the 2023 F-150 Raptor will be arriving with naturally-aspirated V8 power.
Anyway, we can indeed say that the future sounds exciting and that we're sure that Ford will present us with some very interesting vehicles and innovative concepts. So far, Ford has been lucky that every name it has resurrected or repurposed (such as the Mustang Mach-E) has proven a success. But it wasn't just dumb luck. Ford did a great deal of research before deciding to go that way.
So, which of Ford's famous nameplates would you like to see in modern guise and what sub-brands you would be interested in? Please, let us know in the comments below.