In its heyday, the Ford Bronco was one of the most popular and iconic off-roaders in the world.
Now it looks like the big SUV may be about to make a comeback.
According to Bloomberg's Keith Naughton and David Welch, a source familiar with Ford's product planning said that the company is considering the revival of the Bronco SUV.
According to the source, the new Bronco will likely be a midsize affair comparable in size to Ford's popular Explorer.
However, unlike the Explorer — which is now a crossover — the Bronco will be based on a midsize pickup truck.
There's just one problem: Ford currently does not offer a midsize pickup in the US.
That's where the Ranger comes into play. According to Michael Martinez of The Detroit News, sources within Ford say that the Ranger pickup could return to the US market as early as 2018.
(This means the new Bronco will be more akin to the Ranger-based Bronco II, which Ford sold during the late 1980s.)
From the early 1980s until 2011, the Ranger was a well-regarded compact pickup that sold very well in the US.
Unlike previous iterations of the Ranger, the upcoming edition will be a midsize truck poised to compete against General Motors' recently revived Canyon/Colorado.
Although the Ranger name may be defunct in the US market, Ford has been selling a midsize truck overseas using the name for nearly 20 years.
Ford, like many others, abandoned the compact pickup-truck market during the late 2000s, when growth in the segment slowed, and instead focused on the development of more profitable larger trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. However, with the recent return of the GM duo and a revamped Toyota Tacoma, there is new life in the once dormant segment — albeit with slightly larger vehicles.
The Bronco was Ford's flagship SUV from the late 1960s until it was canceled in 1996 and replaced with the Expedition. With four doors instead of two, Ford believed the Expedition would be better positioned to directly compete against GM's full-size Tahoe and Suburban models.
For many, the Bronco will be forever linked to the role it played in the saga of involving former football star OJ Simpson in 1994. Days after the murder of his ex-wife, Simpson took a convoy of LAPD patrol cars on a low-speed chase across Los Angeles in a white Ford Bronco.
According to both Bloomberg and The Detroit News, the new Bronco and Ranger will likely be built at Ford's plant in Wayne, Michigan.
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