2017 Detroit Auto Show: Ford to Bring Back Ranger Pickup, Bronco SUV

January 09, 2017 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Ford Motor Co. will bring back two of its notable most nameplates, the Ranger pickup truck and the Bronco sport-utility vehicle, to capitalize on two popular sales trends in the U.S. auto industry.

The automaker announced plans to bring the Ranger midsize pickup truck to its North American vehicle lineup in 2019 and the Bronco midsize SUV to its global vehicle portfolio in 2020, during a press conference at the North American Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear. They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas.

He said the Ranger “will be capable of conquering everything from your daily commute to gravel roads and boulders” while the Bronco “will be a no-compromise midsize 4×4 utility for thrill seekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”

Both vehicles will be manufactured at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

Analysts said bringing back two vehicles that helped Ford earn its reputation for building rugged vehicles will help the brand.

“It can’t happen soon enough. Ford is missing out on two very profitable and hot segments,” said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for industry consulting firm AutoPacific Inc.

GM jumped back on the midsize pickup treadmill and it has been running full tilt since launch.”

Midsize pickup trucks are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. market.  Americans purchased almost 450,000 midsize pickups last year, a 25.5 percent gain over 2015.

“Ford is going to be successful with both of these products,” said Mike Ramsey, the auto analyst at Gartner Inc. “The demand for trucks and SUVs doesn’t appear to be dimming.”

The Jeep Wrangler – which has largely filled the gap left by the exit of the Bronco from the marketplace in 1996, remains a hot vehicle, even towards the end of its life cycle, Sullivan said. On Sunday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it plans to introduce a Jeep pickup, also expected to be a midsize truck, by 2020.

“The Bronco is likely to be a lower volume product, basically filling a niche for more rugged and aggressive compact SUVs,” said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IIHS Markit. “Ford can leverage nostalgia and history to develop a solid entry, and add more personality into its utility lineup.”

Encouraged by low gas prices and better fuel economy in the vehicles, consumers are gravitating to pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S. auto sales in 2016, up from 55 percent in the prior year.

Even as it adds the new truck models to its lineup, Ford is covering its bases with plans to introduce 13 electrified vehicles – including a hybrid F-150 pickup in 2020 – to ensure it doesn’t get caught in future years with not meeting increasingly stringent fuel economy standards, Ramsey said.

Ford abandoned the market in the 2012 model year, but continued to sell a version of the Ranger in Europe, where it is the top selling pickup, and other global markets.

Previously, Ford executives have said that the version of the company’s F-150 pickup equipped with a six-cylinder turbocharged engine fulfilled the role of a smaller truck in the automaker’s U.S. lineup.

Shifting consumer preferences prompted the automaker to change its thinking.

“We have seen the positive response in the market for the physical size of the smaller trucks,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technology officer and director of global product development.

Related: 2017 Detroit Auto Show: Redesigned 2018 Ford F-150 Gets Standard 10-Speed, Diesel Engine Option

22 Responses

  1. Austin

    Hopefully that rack will not be on the production Ranger. It’s trying to look like a Hilux, one of the ugliest trucks out there. Hopefully Ford tries make the Ranger act like a Hilux (with the exception of that super scary moose test failure), not look like it.

  2. Rob

    Body on frame, back from the dead! I say it’s about time.
    Bronco purists close your eyes… the Bronco needs to be a four door SUV… such as the original rollout of the early 90’s Explorer. A lot of folks still adore the concept of the 4Runner, but can’t get excited enough about the Toyota to pull the trigger. This segment needs a new and exciting variant.
    I visualize the Australian Ford Everest in gym clothes with a fitness watch, and a regular at 5pm bootcamp. Or perhaps a more attractive Nissan Xterra with better bedside manners and stamina. Salute the people who still want to run out for groceries in a blizzard.
    Give me low end torque, a standard electronic locking rear differential, a fixed roof with a useful rack and optional moonroof… and please, if you want to do this thing right… give me an optional six speed manual transmission.
    This, to me, would be the perfect daily driver, adequate young family mover and legitimate weekend warrior.
    If I’m way off course, and it’s going to be more of a nostalgic compact mimic of a convertible Wrangler (with any number of doors)… oh well, and no thanks.

  3. Steve

    I have owned 4 Rangers over the years and still have a 2000 model. These vehicles were always reliable and easy to drive, park and use. I will definitely buy one of these new Rangers. Ford says the new Ranger will look similar to the one sold in the Philippines, now – it’s a really nice-looking vehicle and well-regarded in the Pacific along with a right-hand drive version sold in Australia.

  4. kenbutterworth

    I have a 2001 ranger. Great truck with 95000 miles. I would love to buy a new ranger.

    • ron l.

      I also have a 2001 Ford Ranger with a 4.0 V6 motor . Mine , along with others in the Mustang , Sport Trac , and Explorer have a ” non fixable ” motor . Yep , it is a ” throw away motor ”, and Ford won’t stand behind it . My complete story is toooo long to explain ,, but I am NOT happy with Ford anymore !

  5. Dan Bourassa

    If Ford proceeds to re-introduce the legendary Bronco as a capable mid size SUV that is as boring and dull as every other mid size SUV in mall parking lots across North America, they will fail the test of awesome. The many concepts seen on the internet have built up a lot of hype and hope from Bronco enthusiasts; Bronco’s identity is based on rugged, powerful styling. Todays SUVs have become the lovechild of a stationwagon and a minivan, and to brand one as Bronco would be the ultimate emasculation.

  6. Connie

    It’s about time. I’ve had 3 Rangers got my first one in 89 . Have a 2001 just turned 190,000. Would like to see a full bench seat in the back with full doors,I can hope can’t I.

  7. dan

    I can’t wait, I do not like any of the full sized trucks on the market now. They all need 2 parking spots to avoid door dings.

  8. Ronald Medler

    I have owned and driven Rangers for years now,and loved them. Getting time to replace this one and am getting tired of hearing that they will come back next year! Seriously looking at the new Jeep pickup if Ford doesn’t get their stuff together!

  9. Chew

    I have followed the rumors of the ranger coming back. 1st it was 2016 then 2017 now 2018. WTH?? Was in the Philippines in 2013 and the ranger was everywhere and a really great looking truck.. A little like the raptor. I wanted one then and still do but if ford doesnt get it out of park and put it in drive they are going to lose business. The one in the Philippines was the diesel to boot. If the price is right Ford will pave the way for diesel motors in that size truck. Pair that with 4X4 and I think Ford couldnt make them fast enough. But here is the real question Ford sells them everywhere but here?? Really Ford actions are loader then words. Stop playing with us and pull the trigger or put it back in the safe and retire the name.

  10. Jenny Jaques

    I have a 1992 Ford Ranger that I bought new. It has only 118,000 miles. Looks as sharp as the day I got it. I have bought a early Ranger but sold it. I’m getting ready to put historical plates on it. I have had many offers to sale, but I just can not part with it. I just wish they would bring the Ranger back early.

  11. Stacey

    We have a Ford Ranger with over 215,000 miles. We want another one, but this picture makes it look larger than our current model. I hope they have the same size available.

  12. Clif Drew

    Hurry up, we need this little truck. My ideal would be a 4×4, automatic, diesel turbo. Hopefully this will be a possibility

  13. Robert Garcia

    I’ved owned a ’97 Ranger since it was brand new, just one week ago I had an accident and it’s totaled. I want to cry while I’m typing this, I wish Ford would bring the ranger back, I would love to have a new one. That truck had three hundred thirty thousand miles on it and still ran like a champ. Four cylinders and 5 speeds on the gearbox, 330,000 still ran strong. I miss my Ranger, I want another one badly.

  14. Canuck425

    The Ranger was the class of the mid size truck market and Ford executives foolishly decided to give the North American market away to their competitors. It’s no surprise that it is the market leader in Europe. I don’t understand the delay in reintroducing the Ranger here, unless it’s the same executives making the decisions.

  15. Quinn Powell

    The Ford Rangers are awesome pickup trucks I have a 1996 Ford Ranger 4.0 V6 and I only have 105,000 miles on it. It still drives and looks brand new

  16. steve mccormick

    2017 ?…2018 ?….2019 ? If you drag out the production of the Ford Ranger any longer the competitions will have already filled their (your) customers garages with there mid-sized pick-up. Come on Ford your better than this..

  17. keith white

    love mine and want to buy a new one if they have manuel transmission…..better have it in 2019 after only fords for many years ill be off to JEEP…….want the ford!!!! Get the michigan plant humming on the ranger NOW!!!

  18. Jeff

    I saw the Ford Ranger this summer in Asia. It’s worthy of the American market. Good job Ford. It’s a beautiful truck.


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