The Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco are coming to the U.S. after a long hiatus.
On Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford officials confirmed that U.S. production of the Ranger will begin in 2018, with the midsize truck debuting as a 2019 model. A new Ford Bronco will follow a year later as a 2020 product. Both vehicles are set to be built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan, plant that currently assembles the Focus.
“Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged and maneuverable pickup that’s Built Ford Tough,” says Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas. “Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”
For fans of Ford trucks, both the Bronco and Ranger are storied nameplates that have loyal followings, with the Bronco last offered in 1996 and the Ranger in 2011 (the Bronco forever in folklore thanks to its role in O.J. Simpson’s 1994 police chase).
The Ranger was discontinued in North America and was seldom updated throughout its nearly 30-year life. But the name has soldiered on via a pickup truck Ford sells pretty much everywhere except the U.S. When the updated and made-in-Michigan Ranger arrives next year, it will do battle with the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and, to a certain extent, the Honda Ridgeline. Expect a number of EcoBoost engines to be on offer in keeping with Ford’s recent powertrain trends.
Expect the Bronco, however, to fill a void that was pretty much left for dead with the advent of car-based crossovers: the truck-based compact SUV. Bet on the Bronco’s chief rival to be the Jeep Wrangler, which largely has the segment to itself and is so popular its maker can’t really churn out enough of them to satisfy demand. Ford has been tight-lipped about what the Bronco would look like when it appears in 2019, but a few heritage nods to the classic models produced in the ‘60s and ‘70s are likely.
The Ranger and Bronco are among the several utility vehicles Ford says it will launch in the next several years, which also include a new all-electric crossover set to have a range of at least 300 miles and do battle with the Chevrolet Bolt.