Ford, Concerned By Coronavirus, Delays Planned Bronco Reveal
If there is a Holy Grail in the world of SUVs, it probably is the Ford Bronco. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see its official re-unveiling this week due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). I have detailed the 2021 Ford Ford Bronco Shows Its Retro Style.
Torque News Predicted Reveal Delay
Torque News correctly predicted that the virus that is raging across the country would stop Ford’s official reveal of the renewed early last week, though many scoffed at the report.
Jimmy Dinsmore’s piece said that COVID-19 would delay the official reveal. A spokesman for the automaker confirmed Jimmy’s story. You can read Jimmy's information-packed story Coronavirus could delay Bronco further.. Fears about the COVID-19 virus have claimed Ford Motor’s introduction of the reborn Bronco. The Ford spokesman said coronavirus concerns had forced the automaker to reschedule the event.
Reveal Delay Follows Photo Release
Ford’s cancellation of the debut follows by days the very unofficial early release of official Bronco photos. Ford forums and websites across the internet shared the images. The first release broke what is known as the embargo on them and caused an uproar last week.
The embargoed images appeared first on the GearPatrol6.com and Broncoking.com sites. The poster of the embargoed pictures reportedly was Bruno6g. Ford asked the sites to delete the photos. The sites complied
Interestingly, some scoffed at the images of the Bronco Four-Door, Bronco Two-Door, and the Bronco Sport. One person went so far as describing the photos as Photoshopped. Having seen them, I can vouch that they were not Photoshopped.
The fact that cleaning teams seem to left the cleaning tickets taped to each Bronco tells me they are real. The cleaning equipment is standard, as are the body clean/waxing products.
Bronco Once At Odds With Market
The story of this iconic SUV illustrates how the currents of the market can flow. The early Bronco was at odds with the rest of the market.
The first Bronco rolled out of the factory a year after the Mustang in 1965. No one knew whether either model would work. They did.
At this time, SUVs like the Bronco were, well, they just weren’t. The Bronco laid the mold. The models that followed from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Autos were copies to the imports of today are all pale copies of the original.
At a time when world worshiped high-performance – the 1960s; when it was all about crazy bad 0 to 60 times, big blocks, small blocks, high-performance carbs, big blowers, and the Pony Car wars, Ford was the only automaker to take a chance on something new and different.
Bronco Heads To Market in 1965
As it had in 1964, when it introduced what was to become the iconic two-door performance machine (later made into a sedan and other variations) the Mustang, Ford brought out its first SUV, the Ford Bronco, in 1965.
The boxy, square machine immediately became a hit with the surfing crowd as it could carry boards, brew, and bros to the best surfing on the California coast.
The same vehicle also became a hit with the dune buggy crowd as they raced it along the dunes that bordered the beaches of the country. The Bronco didn’t remain a “beach” machine for long as it moved inland and became a bona fide desert road warrior.
By 1969 when the automotive rally world was turning to the first Baja 1000, the Bronco was also taking up that challenge. Guess what? The Bronco was the winner of that famed race. The win helped to cement the Bronco’s offroad reputation.
Bronco Wins The First Tough Tests Baja 1000
With the Baja 1000 win, it was literally off to the races as the Bronco began appearing in more and more offroad rallies where it usually ran at the top of its class.
Television helped the Bronco’s reputation as writers gave it significant parts of various show plot lines. You have to remember it was as much a part of the youth culture of that time as was the Volkswagen Bus.
From 1965 to 1997, Bronco went through periodic design/generation changes. It was a significant part of the offroading world. However, its design was becoming long in the tooth by 1997 when it was retired.
About four years ago, there were rumors that Ford might bring the Bronco back. However, some wondered aloud why it was needed because Ford has many competitive SUVs in its lineup. Ford has the EcoSport, the Escape, the Edge, the Explorer, and the Expedition at the top end, among others.
Why Did They Bring Back The Bronco?
So, one wonders why Ford wanted to bring back the Bronco? Perhaps it was the nostalgia of aging Boomers and Gen-Xers. Or, maybe some marketing maven saw what many saw in the 1960s, the Bronco was right-sized; it was a fun SUV to handle.
That it was an SUV was likely a big attraction for planners, as well. Three years ago, Ford decided to end car sales and concentrate on the much more profitable SUV segment. Since the automaker needed a new vehicle, the Bronco became a star – again. The Bronco was to be fast-tracked to market.
Now, if there is one thing that Ford has become proficient in over the last half-decade or so, it is in the use of social media. The Bronco was to become the beneficiary of this. Once Ford decided to revive the Bronco, leaks appeared on and in the major social media platforms. The public was hooked and began clamoring for every detail about the Bronco.
Indeed, every time a new rumor circulated through the now-developing world of Bronco forums, folks wanted even more. When there were finally test mules rolling on the roads of Southern Michigan, spies tried to find them in the wild for photo sessions.
Reveal Date Sought By Journalists
Meantime, automotive journalists tried to find the reveal date. Ford had said it would be in early 2020. There was speculation that it would be in the first quarter.
The drumbeat and excitement kept the pressure on Bronco forums and websites to try to find anything. Eager journalists, responding to the demand for the real information, broke the embargo on the Bronco images.
And, this is now where we are. The Bronco intro almost made it, but the coronavirus has kiboshed this intro, as we noted earlier in this story. Ford announced it was delaying the debut due to widening coronavirus concerns.
Mark Truby, vice president, and the senior corporate spokesman told reporters during a teleconference: “We have postponed it … it will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”
Ford execs disappointed today as some of them saw the reboot of the famed SUV as the perfect competition for Fiat Chrysler Autos Jeep Wrangler. Ford has not had a vehicle that has proven competitive against the Fiat Chrysler Autos’ Jeep Wrangler, until now.
Journalists Seeking Reveal Date For Some Time
It’s funny most of the automotive press had been chasing information on the introduction of the renewed Bronco for, in some cases, months. All it took was a health crisis to put a lid on the intro. Those who would likely have assisted in the program are now working from home as they have non-business-critical.
Those workers with business-critical job slots, Truby said, are now working to keep “product programs on time,” said Truby.
Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One was that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories can be found at Torque News Ford coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.