Ford is Planning a Bronco Pickup to Battle the Jeep Gladiator
The Ford Bronco is expected to return to the North American lineup for 2021, likely hitting the market sometime next year. It will be built on the same basic underpinnings as the new Ford Ranger, but we expect it to have a very different exterior design than the curvy compact pickup, being shaped more like the boxy classic Bronco – or a Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco is expected to go head-to-head with the Wrangler, with a stronger off-road theme than any of the other Motor Company’s SUVs.
While we expected to see the Bronco compete closely with the Jeep, what we didn’t expect was a pickup based on the new Ford SUV. However, since the Wrangler lends its design to the new Gladiator pickup, it makes sense that Ford would roll out a proper competitor to the Jeep pickup. According to the folks at Automobile Magazine, a Bronco-based pickup to challenge the Gladiator is on the way.
That being said, with the Ranger already on sale, filling the midsized truck gap in the Ford lineup, we have to wonder where a Bronco pickup fits.
Truck Based on an SUV Based on a Truck
When the new Ford Bronco arrives for 2021, it will be built on the same chassis as the current Ford Ranger, at the same Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. However, it is unlikely that the Bronco will simply be an SUV variant of the Ranger. We expect that the Bronco will have much heavier duty suspension components to compete with the Jeep Wrangler in the rough off-road settings while also having a slab-sided design that should totally depart from the Ranger’s curves.
While the two vehicles will have a very different look and a very different purpose, it is a smart move by Ford to share whatever components possible to help reduce costs and increase profit while also occupying two key segments in the US market. The midsized SUV segment is one of the hottest in America and with the growth of the midsized truck segment, the return of the Ranger was a no-brainer.
However, adding a second midsized truck on the same platform seems like a bit of a risk and it comes as an interesting surprise. After all, the Ranger introduced the platform, the Bronco shares that platform in SUV form and now the Bronco pickup will also share that platform. In other words, the Bronco pickup will be based on the Bronco SUV and that Bronco SUV is based on the new Ranger pickup – so the Bronco pickup is a midsized pickup based on another midsized pickup.
That is an odd turn of events, but it just might work out for Ford. While the Ranger and Gladiator technically compete in the same midsized pickup segment, there is no question that they are totally different machines. The Ranger can go off-road, but the Gladiator was designed to do everything that the Wrangler can do while also offering the versatility of a pickup truck. The Ranger does not challenge the Wrangler in terms of overall capabilities so it is unrealistic to expect the Ranger to truly compete with the Gladiator.
With the new Bronco expected to be a proper competitor to the Wrangler, the Bronco pickup could offer far greater off-road abilities than the Ranger, taking a shot at the new Jeep Gladiator.
Ultimately, if the Bronco pickup proves to be a real thing, we aren’t likely to see it for 4 or 5 years, but the success of the upcoming Bronco SUV could play a major role in bringing the pickup version to market.
Patrick Rall @TheAutoBeard is the Managing Editor of Torque News. Please follow us on Twitter at @TorqueNewsAuto, Facebook and send us tips. You can also Follow Patrick on Youtube.