The Ford Bronco Will Drive A Booming Aftermarket Industry Around Customization
It's no secret that aftermarket products are popular within the auto industry. Even small cars like Toyota Corollas and Subaru WRX have a strong aftermarket presence. For muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, the market is strong. Likewise the truck aftermarket industry is booming.
But amongst the aftermarket industry, perhaps the kind of them all is the Jeep Wrangler. Mopar, a company that thrives because of aftermarket parts for vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, is a billion dollar company.
So it should not surprise anyone that Ford has built and manufactured the new 2021 Ford Bronco two-door and four-door with the aftermarket in mind.
Watch a cool time lapse video of the Bronco’s modularity below.
The two- and four-door Ford Bronco SUV’s patented off-road modular design offers a user-friendly platform that can be stripped to its base structure so that alternate doors, fenders and grille can be added in one afternoon. The following day, a whole new Bronco SUV can be reconfigured for another new adventure with a different body and roof setup.
“Whether your goal is to build the ultimate desert racer or rock crawling rig – or both with the same vehicle – the Bronco modular design provides the ease and confidence to create a 4x4 that is as unique as each of our customers,” said Bronco design chief Paul Wraith. “Because of that ease and flexibility, no two Broncos should ever be alike.”
Bronco’s Modular Design
The Bronco two- and four-door SUVs were designed and engineered from a clean slate to make off-road customization easy, quick and attainable for all enthusiasts with a wide variety of interests and skill levels.
Basic modifications to prep a Bronco for a fun-filled open-air afternoon can be completed in a matter of minutes by hand. Available modular roof panels can be removed by one person using simple latches. Available modular rear quarter windows can be removed with minimal effort, simply by releasing a latch for each window, while two people can remove the rear hardtop assembly after removing a few fasteners. Easy-to-use quarter-turn fasteners make removing four fender flares possible in just a few minutes each.
Bronco logos stamped on the body and interior fasteners indicate removeable modular components such as frameless doors, fenders, bumpers, grille and grab handles. Unlike competitive SUVs, both front and rear fenders can be removed by simply taking out the bolts – and can be replaced just the same without welding or other complicated means.
Frameless EZ Air doors can be removed in minutes by anyone of any size by taking off two bolts and disconnecting an electrical connector. Each door takes between two and four minutes to remove depending on the skill level of the customer. Threaded Bronco logo mounting points from the factory enable the addition of accessories like LED pod lights to sideview mirrors and installation of roof racks to the top sport bar. Available modular front and rear bumpers also come with threaded taps to mount winches, safari bars and LED lights.
When design-intent body parts are removed for off-road use only – fenders, quarter panels, doors and roof – the Bronco two- and four-door models retain all required Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Thanks to the vehicle’s innovative door design, cowl-mounted sideview mirrors remain in place when the doors are off or when optional doors are installed.
“I expect a lot of Bronco owners are going to have a lot of fun engaging with the DIY aspects of the modular design because it gives them the opportunity to create the perfect 4x4 for their unique needs without requiring a lot of mechanical expertise or experience,” said Wraith.
Ford Bronco Customization
The customization options are nearly endless for the Bronco, and as we’ve seen, that is by design, according to Ford. From a customer standpoint that seems brilliant. Afterall, people invest heavily in their vehicles and want to add a personal touch.
But it’s not cost effective for Ford to build one-off vehicles with very specific options. Rather leaving it modular and easily customizable is the best way to go.
The Bronco two- and four-door modular platform will become a hub for a burgeoning aftermarket and customization industry based around the off-road enthusiast community.
Several custom Bronco concept vehicles demonstrate the flexibility of the platform and underscore the growing number of Ford-licensed accessories at events like Bronco Day and Bronco Super Celebration, while third-party aftermarket companies are vying to showcase their performance parts on ULTRA4 Bronco 4600 series vehicles.
Theresa Contreras, custom builder and co-founder of LGE-CTS Motorsports based in California, served on a panel of off-road experts who brought a performance aftermarket voice to Bronco product development to help steer its design to optimize customization. Months ahead of launch, Contreras is already seeing custom Bronco parts in forums and at trade shows.
“The way Bronco is engineered with the modular platform will create a lot of new opportunities for performance parts manufacturers and custom shops – giving them something new to hang their hats on,” she said. “And from a design perspective, the vintage Bronco design combined with some incredible new technology will give custom builders a lot to work with to create some really extreme off-road machines.”
For the Bronco brand, midcycle product updates can be created – even rapid-prototyped and 3D-printed – without having to change the base structure, extending the life of the platform so Bronco owners can look forward to years of modifying their vehicles with the latest features.
“Because of modularity, you can hang onto your Bronco longer and keep it fresh and up to date with new body parts, accessories and new technologies – some that can be made in low volume and others downloaded,” said Wraith. “The possibilities for this platform stretch as far as your imagination.”
Orders for the two-door and four-door Ford Bronco are being finalized now, with orders being converted to production. The new Bronco will arrive in showrooms this summer, with the Bronco Sport already out and available.
Be sure to check my official review of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport here at Torque News. Also, read more about a brand new partnership between Bronco Brand and three aftermarket companies here.
What would you add to a Bronco if you order one? How would you customize it? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.