What if There isn’t a New Bronco Coming?

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As I sat next to some media colleagues, including Paul Strauss from The Awesomer, at the Detroit Auto Show last week, we were secretly hoping for news on a new Bronco during the Ford press conference. No, we didn’t have any reason at all to suspect an announcement, but it’s about time for a production concept to make an appearance. Isn’t it? What if, despite all the speculation, there isn’t a new Bronco coming?

We published a story just this week about how the new Bronco is a virtual lock and that it’ll be a body-on-frame competitor to the new Jeep Wrangler coming in 2017. But the truth be told, there has been no official news, at all, from Ford on the subject.

2005 Jeep(R) Gladiator Concept Vehicle

The Jeep Wrangler is an interesting parallel to the Bronco story. The new Wrangler will be built in Toledo (where the current vehicle is produced), and will debut sometime by 2017. After the new Wrangler production is underway, Jeep will then introduce the Wrangler pickup truck that the world has been waiting for. Both of these facts have been confirmed by FCA’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne.

Ford’s new Ranger, if it’s coming, is to be produced at the Michigan Assembly complex, where the Ford Focus and C-Max were produced (before that production shifted to Mexico). But the maximum output of that facility exceeds how many Rangers Ford is likely to sell.

Ford Launches New Ford Ranger at International Motor Expo 2011

To ensure production capacity at that plant, the Bronco is the logical vehicle alternative to fill the gap. Again, it all seems to make sense if it were backed up by, you know, actual facts.

The only thing telling that might mean a new Bronco is coming is that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields talked about four new SUVs coming in the coming years. Assuming what’s been refreshed, and what is in the pipeline, there’s a chance that one of those four would be a Bronco.

Now FCA has been pretty open in the past about some of their future production goals. They had a five¬†year plan that laid out every new product launch, and we’re expecting an updated version of that plan here in the near future. It makes it easy to see where an automotive company is going if they put every significant new product launch on a slide deck.

Ford Everest Based Bronco Concept Rendering

While we don’t expect Ford to be that open about future plans, if the 2018 target for the new Ranger and Bronco is to be believed, we’re going to need to see some news soon. The Chicago Auto Show is just around the corner, followed up by the New York show. But if we don’t see a concept by the end of the New York show, I’d seriously start to reconsider if we’re getting a new Bronco at all.

In an ideal world, I’d like to see a horse race between Jeep and Ford on who can get their new off-road vehicles on sale first. The competition would make both of the vehicles better, and be a win for the fans all across the country.

I’m still bullish on the new Bronco, but I’m also prepared for the rumors to not come to fruition.

What do you think? Let us know over in the forums!

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

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