Ford Bronco and Ranger: A Reasonable Timeline for Launch

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Ford has not confirmed that a new Bronco or Ranger exists. However, based on leaks from the UAW and a dose of some common sense thinking, the writing on the wall suggests that both of these vehicles are going to make a triumphant return to the United States before the end of the decade.

We’ve been teasing with ideas and crazy theories about when that might happen (we even suggested at one point as soon as Thursday of this week, but that’s not likely to happen). But manufacturing takes time, so this timeline seems to make some sense;

  • January 2017: Ford Bronco¬†Concept debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
    • Vehicle will be touted as 2019 model.
  • February 2017: Ford Ranger Concept debuts at the Chicago Auto Show in, you guessed it, Chicago.
    • Vehicle will be touted as 2019 model.
  • January 2018: Production-Ready Bronco is shown at Detroit Auto Show.
  • February 2018: Production-Ready Ranger is shown at Chicago Auto Show.
  • Spring / Summer¬†2018: Production will stop at the Michigan Assembly Plant for the Ford C-Max and Focus. Production of those vehicles is expected to move to Mexico.
  • Summer, 2018: Michigan Assembly begins retooling and training of employees for Bronco and Ranger production.
  • Fall 2018: First media drive programs and reviews happen.
  • Fall, 2018: 2019 Ford Bronco and Ford Ranger enter production at Michigan Assembly, and start trickling out to dealerships before the end of the year.
    • Pre-orderers will get slightly miffed that dealerships will get cars for customer sale before their pre-orders, but Ford will want dealerships with inventory for launch.

Ford, with both the new Raptor and new Super Duty, demoed the vehicles approximately two model years ahead of their on-sale date. We’re assuming that they’d do the same thing here to help build up hype for the new products and make as much news about the vehicles as they can before launch.

Ford Everest Based Bronco Concept Rendering

This timeline falls in line with what new know already from the UAW leak confirming the vehicles, to the latest Automotive News story talking about increased Mexican vehicle production and how that applies to the current vehicles at the Michigan Assembly plant.

Detroit makes the most sense for the Bronco debut, since it’ll be the one of the two vehicles most talked about, even though it won’t be the one that sells the most. Chicago has always been a truck-focused show, so debuting the truck there makes sense.

2011_Ford_Ranger_(PX)_XLT_High_Rider_4-door_Super_Cab_utility_(2012-07-14) (1) - Copy

It is possible that Ford would pull a 2015 NAIAS and show both the Bronco and Ranger at the same time in Detroit, but we’d think that Ford would want to maximize the news cycle. Having significant vehicle debuts at both shows would maximize that coverage.

If there is to be a special edition, such as a Raptor version, of each of those vehicles, expect those versions to debut no earlier than January 2019 at the North American International Auto Show. Ford would unlikely cannibalize initial sales of both products while people wait for a hotted-up version of those vehicles to go on sale.

Keep in mind, this timeline is completely speculative at this point, but based on the information we have and past history makes the most sense. What do you think? Let us know over in our forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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