Listen to the automotive rumor mill long enough, and suggestions of an all-new Ford Bronco surface as surely as the leaves change every year. Well, the shoe has finally and officially dropped, as Ford announced from the Detroit Auto Show today that it's bringing back the legendary 4x4, as well as the beloved Ford Ranger.
The Bronco in particular has legions of fans that have been clamoring for Ford to produce the classic midsize SUV once again, after it's been out of production since 1996. The Ranger has still been available in some international markets, but has been out of production and not available in the United States for more than five years. The Detroit automaker has promised to bring back a new model of the Bronco in 2020, and will make the Ranger available in 2019.
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"We've heard our customers loud and clear," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas in a press release. "They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive."
"Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged and maneuverable pickup that's Built Ford Tough. Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city."
While the Bronco's return should satisfy an enthusiastic contingent of fans that have waited decades for its return, the Ranger's comeback being after just a brief hiatus makes sense for a variety of reasons. The Ranger has remained the No. 3 selling small truck in the world -- you just couldn't buy one in the US.
The reasons were fairly straightforward -- the international Ranger has simply been too close in size to the F-150 to sell here, and when US sales were at their nadir, there was little sense in finding a way to bring it back. Now, however, GM is making bank on the Colorado, and the Toyota Tacoma is enjoying quite a renaissance, making a ready-made case for the Ranger's return. Factor in lower gas prices, and rumors that the Bronco will be built on the new Ranger's platform, and rationale at play is all too logical.