While the details on the next generation Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco are limited at best, we know that the midsized Ranger pickup will be reborn sometime in late 2018 while the midsized Bronco SUV will return sometime in or around 2020. We also know that the upcoming Ranger and Bronco will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant where the Ford Focus was previously built and in preparation for converting that facility from a small car plant to a midsized SUV plant, the Motor Company will invest $850 million along with investing another $150 million at the Romeo Engine Plant where some components for the new Ranger and Bronco will be produced.
In total, this most recent round of newly announced investments includes a billion dollars worth of upgrades in preparation for the upcoming Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco.
“At Ford, we are investing aggressively in building on our strengths today – including trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles and SUVs – while at the same time growing our leadership in electrification, autonomy and mobility services,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “As America’s top producer of automobiles, we are proud to be going even further in our commitment to invest in manufacturing here at home.”
Preparing the Michigan Assembly Plant
When the Ford Ranger reaches production in late 2018, it will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant where the Ford Focus and Ford CMax are currently produced. Both of those small cars will be built at MAP through early 2018, but starting in/around May of that year, the Motor Company will begin transforming the facility into a midsized truck and SUV plant. Of course, building small cars and midsized trucks or SUVs requires different tooling, so by using the same changeover method that Ford used when preparing the Dearborn Truck Plant for the switch from steel trucks to aluminum trucks – the company will transform MAP into a midsized truck and SUV plant.
Ford expects that this $850 million upgrade will take just four weeks with this method, during which time they will remove everything that isn’t needed and adding new tooling to build the new Ranger or Bronco.
Preparing the Romeo Engine Plant
Next, the Motor Company will invest $150 million in their Romeo Engine Plant for new tooling and increased capacity for “several vehicles” – most notably the new Ford Ranger and Bronco. The Romeo plant currently builds a variety of V8 engines for the Mustang and F Series pickups, but starting in early 2018, the facility will be upgraded to build an unknown new engine along with various components for the Ranger and Bronco.
While this news of a billion dollar investment in the Michigan Assembly and Romeo Engine facilities don’t reveal anything new about the upcoming Ranger and Bronco, it is clear that Ford is very serious about making a big splash in the midsized truck and SUV market in the next few years.