A new report finds Ford is looking into expanding its family of off-roaders with a new Ranger and a long-awaited successor to the Bronco that was phased out nearly 20 years ago.
Sources close to the Blue Oval told trade journal Automotive News that executives are seriously considering bringing the Ranger pickup truck back to the United States because the F-150, the company’s bread-and-butter model, has gradually gotten bigger and more expensive. Currently sold in over 200 global markets, the Ranger will slot in below the F-150 in terms of price and it will be a size smaller, but it will retain its bigger sibling’s rugged body-on-frame construction.
In addition to filling a hole in Ford’s lineup, a new Ranger will allow the Blue Oval to jump in the newly reinvigorated compact truck segment that’s currently dominated by the Toyota Tacoma and the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins. Ford hasn’t competed in the segment since the last U.S.-spec Ranger was sent to the chopping block in 2011.
Details about the Bronco — a nameplate made famous by O.J. Simpson in 1994 — are a little bit more vague. It will allegedly be an evolution of the Everest SUV that’s based on the Ranger and also sold in overseas markets, but it will feature a shorter wheelbase and it will most likely launch as a two-door model. Designed for buyers who want a serious off-roader, the Bronco will be aimed squarely at the Jeep Wrangler.
If they’re given the green light for production, the Ranger and the Bronco could be built in the Michigan Assembly Plant that Ford operates on the outskirts of Detroit. The catch is that the factory currently churns out the Focus and the C-Max, and it doesn’t have enough extra capacity to build a third — let alone a fourth– model.
Production of the C-Max and the Focus is rumored to be ending in 2018, which is when the Ranger is tentatively scheduled to arrive. This time frame indicates that we most likely won’t get the same model (pictured) that Ford sells around the globe.
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