Ford confirmed the return of two popular nameplates at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, but did not offer any other substantial details about the resurrected models.
The Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck will return to North America in 2019, followed by a new version of the Bronco SUV in 2020. The Ranger is currently sold in several markets outside the U.S., and it’s possible that the international model will be adapted for sale here. Ford hasn’t sold a Bronco since 1996, so it’s unclear what bits Ford will use for the new model.
The return of the Ranger and Bronco has been rumored for some time, and even managed to get intertwined with the 2016 presidential election. In response to then-Republican nominee Donald Trump’s criticism of Ford plans to move jobs to Mexico, Bill Johnson, chairman of United Auto Workers (UAW) local 900, said his organization expected Ford to keep workers employed by building the two trucks in the U.S.
In October, Johnson said Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, would build the new Ranger and Bronco. Sure enough, Ford confirmed that is where the two models will be built in a brief announcement during its Detroit Auto Show press conference. Since Johnson’s original comment, Ford has also said it will scrap plans for a new Mexico factory, and will instead upgrade another Michigan factory, in Flat Rock.
The Ranger was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2011, when midsize pickup sales were at a low. Sales have rebounded since then, thanks to updated models like the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline. The business case for the Bronco is less clear, as buyers have shifted away from traditional truck-based SUVs to car-based crossovers in the 20 years since the last Bronco was put out to pasture.
Stay tuned for more information on the new Ranger and Bronco as it becomes available.