Commentary & Voices
Cox Automotive Commentary: Bronco Reveal
Monday July 13, 2020
On Monday, July 13, Ford Motor Company will officially reveal a line of all-new Bronco products, arguably one of the most highly anticipated launches this year. Our analysts and experts agree: The new Ford SUVs have been developed to tap into the emotional appeal of true off-road, go-anywhere capability. More specifically, Ford’s new Bronco line is being launched as a full frontal assault on one brand: Jeep.
The Jeep brand and, specifically, the Jeep Wrangler are among the more emotional products in our business today, in the same league as Corvette and Mustang. Wrangler is among the most-searched products Autotrader.com, routinely among the top-10 most popular.
As the new Bronco line readies for launch, below is some commentary from the Cox Automotive experts and analysts.
Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader
The Bronco is a direct challenger to the popular Jeep Wrangler. It could be very good. However, we’ve been down this road before—Blazer, FJ Cruiser, Xterra, Defender, Ramcharger, and 4Runner have all tried the tough, funky and also cool utility-vehicle formula. Most gave up. Introducing a four-door Bronco is the smart move. But in many ways, Jeep has likely already won the first round of the battle: Everyone is talking about the Wrangler as king of the segment, and most Bronco conversations are firmly parked in a Wrangler context.
Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Autotrader
For years, Jeep Wrangler has stood alone, king of the hill of off-roaders, largely unchallenged. Ford’s effort to take on Wrangler with the Bronco will not be easy as Jeep is a long, well-established global icon.
Zo Rahim, manager, Economic & Industry Insights, Cox Automotive
Ford’s reveal of the all-new Bronco has people asking if the market can support yet another new utility vehicle product? You bet. The new Bronco looks to be going after a segment that the Wrangler has dominated for many years. We know consumer interest for light trucks, including SUVs, remains high right now. Even during the current economic downturn, consumers are buying light trucks at an impressive-level suggesting there’s plenty of appetite for a hot, high-profile SUV like the new Ford Bronco.
Akshay Anand, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book
The Bronco launch is a big deal. Between the nostalgia factor, versatility of builds and the vehicle itself, the Bronco line has the potential to be the Next Big Thing – especially in the hot segment it is entering. The market for off-road forward SUVs has very few options today, so don’t be surprised if Ford touts that in addition to being a capable, comfortable daily driver. If Ford can successfully appeal to consumers’ emotions – as they do with Mustang and F-Series – look out: Bronco may well be a big success.
Allyson Harwood, features editor, Kelley Blue Book
With an honest, off-road structure and removable doors, and equipped with the right hardware, the all-new Ford Bronco has its sights set on one target only: Jeep Wrangler. And this will be the first time in a long time the Wrangler has had direct competition.
Ford has already shown it can use modern technology to make its trucks more capable, more efficient, and easier to use. If Ford gives the Bronco that same treatment, this SUV will be appealing to a broad spectrum of buyers, beyond hard-core off-roaders. That Ford is launching three models in the Bronco family – 2-door, 4-door, and Sport – suggests they are ready to compete directly with multiple Jeep models. It’s also a smart way to expand their vehicle to play in more parts of the highly popular SUV category.
But the most important element of this vehicle launch will be Ford’s ability to balance on the wire of being true to what the original Bronco meant – and means – to a lot of people, while also becoming relevant and appealing to an entire new set of buyers.
Read more from Allyson on the Ford Bronco Sport.
For comparison sake, as this story seems to be as much about Wrangler as it about Bronco, we grabbed two important data points about the popular Jeep icon from our Kelley Blue Book data team:
Monthly Sales: Wrangler is a relatively high-volume product, with sales of over 17,000 a month on average through the past 5 years. It was the best-selling midsize SUV in Q2 of 2020. In the first half, with sales near 100,000, it held 3rd place in the sales race, behind only its stablemate the Grand Cherokee and Ford’s Explorer.
Transaction Price: Wranglers command average transaction prices (ATP) well above segment and industry average. In June, the Wrangler ATP was $44,451, placing it #3 in the crowded, 25-vehicle segment.
Be sure to check back for more content on the all-new Ford Bronco. If you would like to speak with one of the expert analysts from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or any member of the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, please contact us.