Ford CEO Jim Hackett recently revealed on an earnings call with investors that the demand for the 2021 Ford Bronco has far exceeded the brand’s expectations. According to Hackett, over 150,000 customers have paid a $100 fee to secure a coveted reservation to order the vehicle.
The History of the Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco, a two-door sports utility vehicle (SUV) was first introduced in 1965 as a rugged alternative to four-door SUVs already on the market. It was designed with a larger track width and coil spring front suspension, which made it ideal for traveling over a wide range of terrains from the roadside to the mountainside. The original model also featured a short wheelbase and lower turning diameter, which made it easier for drivers to safely turn around in tight spaces.
The first Ford Bronco model was an immediate success. But the Bronco became even more popular following the release of the second generation model in 1978. The second generation was designed with many of the same elements that made the vehicle ideal for off-roading. However, the new design also featured a larger platform and body, similar to those found on the Ford F-Series truck. Thus, the second generation model brought together the best of both worlds for consumers who loved the size of the F-Series but the ruggedness and unparalleled capabilities of the Bronco.
The design of the third generation Bronco, which was released in 1980, incorporated more luxurious amenities. This model was more fuel efficient and lighter than previous models. It was also designed with an independent front suspension as opposed to a solid front axle, which made riding over bumpy terrain far more comfortable. Despite these changes, the third generation Ford Bronco was still designed for the rugged, outdoor-loving automotive consumer.
The Bronco took on a new shape with the release of the fourth generation model in 1987. The fourth generation Bronco featured softer, sculpted edges instead of squared corners and right angles. Ford also made a number of safety upgrades on the fourth generation Bronco, such as the inclusion of a rear anti-locking brake system. Consumers were also given more interior options for the fourth generation. For instance, consumers could choose between a front bench seat or Captain’s chairs.
The final Bronco model, the fifth generation, debuted in 1992. The fifth generation model was known for its rugged exterior, yet luxurious and stylish interior. The new model was designed with an upscale sound system, illuminated mirrors, and other high-end features. The stylish look of the fifth generation wasn’t the only improvement—Ford also made several safety improvements to this model. Three-point seat belts were added to the rear seats and an airbag was added to the steering wheel beginning in 1994.
By the time the fifth generation was released, the Ford Bronco had been in production for nearly 30 years. But its popularity was slowly declining due to the rise in demand for four-door SUVs. As a result, the Ford Bronco was discontinued in 1996.
The Long-Awaited Return of the Ford Bronco
Ford first announced the return of the Ford Bronco in 2017 at the Detroit Auto Show. The announcement was met with awe and excitement from Ford fans, who have long awaited the return of this iconic vehicle.
Now, over three years later, the wait is almost over. Ford finally released more information regarding the release in July of this year. The manufacturer will release three new Broncos for the 2021 production year: the Bronco 2 (a two-door SUV), the Bronco 4 (a four-door SUV), and Bronco Sport.
Both the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 will be manufactured in Michigan, whereas the Bronco Sport will be manufactured in Mexico. The Bronco 4 starts at $34,695, making it the most expensive of the three new models. Next is the Bronco 2, which has a base price of $29,995, followed by the Bronco Sport, which starts at $28,155.
The designs of all three of the vehicles are supposed to remind consumers of the past while also driving them forward toward the future. The three 2021 models are all just as rugged as the original Broncos, with wide frames and distinct edges. But the 2021 models feature a number of different customization options that were not available for earlier generations.
There are seven different versions of the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4, with 11 paint options and four content packages. The higher end versions, which are known as the Wildtrak and Badlands, are for consumers who plan on spending most of their time behind the wheel off-roading.
Both the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 are designed with removable roof panels and doors to give consumers more flexibility. Additionally, the models are available in both soft and hardtops.
Ford is also planning on releasing hundreds of new accessories to make it even easier for consumers to customize their 2021 Bronco. These sporty accessories are designed to help consumers carry their kayaks, skis, and other gear with ease on their next adventure.
Unlike previous generations of the Bronco, innovative technology is also incorporated into the designs of the 2021 models. For instance, drivers who are off-roading can choose between seven different “driving modes,” which include normal, eco, sport, slippery and sand, baja, mud and ruts, and rock crawl. Allowing drivers to select their driving mode gives them yet another opportunity to customize their Bronco experience.
The Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 are also designed with the Ford SYNC 4 infotainment system. This unique system features an 8- or 12-inch display screen, voice control, GPS, and camera that allows drivers to see all the way around the vehicle without turning their head. Using the infotainment system, consumers can also access thousands of trail maps that they can use while exploring the great outdoors.
Reservations For the New Ford Bronco
The Bronco Sport will reportedly be available for sale at dealerships around the country by the end of this year, whereas the Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 will not be available until spring of 2021. But in the meantime, consumers who are counting down the days until the Bronco hits the market can pay a small fee to ensure they don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase this iconic vehicle.
In July, Ford outlined its plan to allow customers to reserve a spot to order one of the new Bronco models. By paying a $100 fee, customers could land one of the spots on this short list.
So far, over 150,000 reservations have been made for the Bronco 2, Bronco 4 and Bronco Sport. Furthermore, Ford unveiled a limited First Edition model of the Bronco with a starting price of $60,800, more than twice the base price of the Bronco 2 and Bronco Sport. Despite this high price, all 7,000 of the limited number of these First Edition models have been reserved by consumers who are celebrating the return of the Bronco.
Ford has not revealed how many reservations they expected, but CFO Tim Stone has admitted that the number of reservations made so far has exceeded their initial expectations.
Ford’s President of the Americas & International Market Group, Kumar Galhotra, has also said that the company hopes to sell hundreds of thousands of Broncos per year once the vehicle officially hits the market. If the company is able to sell approximately 125,000 units per year, it could add about $1 billion to Ford’s annual pre-tax earnings, making it one of the manufacturer’s most profitable models.
Of course, these 150,000 reservations are not actual orders, just reservations. As a result, there’s no guarantee that every customer who paid the fee to secure a spot on the list will follow through with an order. Now, it’s up to Ford to determine how many of these reservations will actually turn into orders.
But for the time being, the brand could not be more pleased with the initial demand for the 2021 Bronco.
The Repositioning of Ford
In 2018, Ford announced that it would retire the Fiesta, Taurus, Fusion, and all other passenger car models besides the Mustang and Ford Focus Active. According to Ford, this would allow the company to focus solely on manufacturing trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. The decision to relaunch the Bronco is in line with this goal to shift their business exclusively to this segment of the automotive industry.
Experts believe that the 2021 Bronco will allow Ford to compete directly with Jeep, specifically with the Jeep Wrangler, which has not had a direct competitor since 2009, when the Hummer was officially discontinued.
However, Ford is not the only automotive manufacturer that is planning on stealing a chunk of the Jeep Wrangler’s market share. General Motors recently released a video that teased the return of the Hummer. But unlike the previous models, the new Hummer appears to be an electric vehicle rather than a fuel-powered vehicle. The Hummer is another iconic vehicle, so the return of this model could give Ford a run for its money.