Ford allegedly confirmed it will step out of the auto show circuit to introduce the long-awaited 2021 Bronco. The off-roader will make its debut during a standalone event scheduled for March, about a month before its smaller sibling — which is tentatively called Bronco Sport — breaks cover at the annual New York auto show.
Industry trade journal Automotive News learned from sources who attended Ford's annual dealer meeting that the wait for the born-again Bronco is nearly over. There's no word yet on precisely when or where it will make its debut, but a March unveiling date has been penciled in. It sounds like the company will introduce the two- and four-door models simultaneously, and dealers reported both SUVs will arrive in showrooms in early 2021.
Recent spy shots (pictured) end all doubts about the Bronco's DNA. It's a burly, body-on-frame off-roader that will live up to the heritage crammed into its nameplate with features like a removable hard top. It will be the Jeep Wrangler's first direct rival since Toyota stopped selling the retro-styled FJ Cruiser in the United States after the 2014 model year. The smaller Bronco Sport will be a completely different kind of SUV. It will look like its bigger sibling but it will adopt unibody construction for a more car-like ride at the expense of all-terrain prowess.
While an earlier report speculated the model would resurrect the Maverick nameplate, dealers who attended the meeting told Automotive News it will arrive as the Bronco Sport, a move reminiscent of Land Rover's approach to naming its SUVs.
Maverick and Bronco Sport aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, however. The Bronco nameplate has no resonance in Europe, and the odds of seeing the 2021 model sold there are low. Ford desperately needs to keep its European fleet-wide CO2 emissions in check to avoid huge fines under strict new guidelines there — so much so that even the next-generation Focus RS is on ice — so launching a body-on-frame SUV isn't going to help its cause. There would be nothing for the Blue Oval to peg the Bronco Sport on across the pond, but it already used the Maverick name twice. The first time was on a re-badged version of the Nissan Terrano II available from 1993 to 1999, and the second time was on the short-lived, all-but-forgotten European-spec variant of the original Escape.
Alternatively, Maverick could simply correspond to an adventure-oriented trim level of the Bronco Sport, like Sahara or Rubicon for Jeep.
Either way, Ford predicts it will sell at least 200,000 Bronco-badged models in 2021, a figure that would give its business a significant boost. Dealers will also have the opportunity to capitalize on demand for accessories, especially those designed in-house for the Bronco. Try to spot a fully stock Wrangler the next time you take a road trip and you'll quickly realize how lucrative a thick catalog of factory-built accessories can be.
If the report is accurate, we expect Ford to make an official announcement about the Bronco's unveiling (hopefully accompanied by a revealing teaser image) in the coming weeks. Pricing will start in the vicinity of $30,000. The Bronco Sport due out in April at the New York show will cost less, and it will arrive in stores by the end of 2020.
You Might Also Like