Ford ready to export Bronco to new markets

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Ford Bronco doors off

Ford boss says new Bronco “absolutely” works outside of the US…but it seems like it is still sour news for Australian fans.

Ford’s new Bronco is a huge hit in the US but despite also being an attractive four-wheel drive for Australia and other markets, Ford ruled out expansion into new countries when it was first shown. However, Ford now says that the Bronco is a natural Land Rover Defender rival and is ready to tackle other markets.

Speaking to Automotive Daily at the Goodwood Revival, where he was racing his 1966 Ford GT40, Ford CEO Jim Farley said with a smile on his face, “I’m just waiting for these guys [Ford of Europe] to make up their mind.”

Asked how well the Bronco would work in Europe, Farley told us, “Absolutely, it works. I see all these Defenders around – absolutely. I think it would work fine.” Although the Bronco is a strong possibility for Europe from our conversation, Automotive Daily further understands that it’s unlikely to be built in right-hand drive and Australia remains firmly off the cards.

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Farley has a large collection of Fords himself that includes a 1973 Bronco alongside a four-door version of the new model.

In the US the all-new Bronco has been a massive sales success with waiting lists for the two- or four-door models stretching well into 2022. Buyers in the US can choose from a 2.7-litre six-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 242kW and 563Nm of torque or a 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 221kW and 441Nm. It’s not known whether both powertrains will come to Europe, with the four-cylinder the most likely.

Although Ford has hinted at an all-electric full-size SUV which could be the Bronco, a high-performance Bronco Raptor version is expected to come much sooner with a high-performance 295kW 3.0-litre V6 engine rumoured to be under the bonnet.

The Bronco starts at around $30,000 (AUD$41,000) in the US including taxes, although most buyers will spend much more with myriad optional extras and option packs available. There’s no word on possible European prices yet, but we’d expect a European Bronco to start at over $50,000, and it would likely be even more if a RHD Australian model were to come at some point.

Equally, with demand for Broncos so strong in its home market, it would be unlikely that Bronco would be exported any time before 2023.

Like most purpose built off-roaders, the new Ford Bronco is based on a high-strength steel ladder chassis and it features a host of heavy-duty equipment, such as selectable four-wheel drive, a solid rear axle, locking front and rear differentials, extensive underbody protection panels and a two-speed transfer case.

There’s also a set of long-travel Bilstein shock absorbers, enormous 35-inch off-road tyres and a pair of semi-active anti-roll bars, which can be disconnected to allow greater wheel articulation when tackling off-camber terrain.

The Bronco also has almost 300mm of ground clearance – which is more than the new Land Rover Defender – as well as breakover and departure angles of 29 degrees and 37.2 degrees respectively. Finally, Ford says its revamped off-roader has a class-leading water fording depth of up to 851mm.

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However, unlike the original, the new Bronco is more than a piece of simple farm machinery. Ford has fitted this new model with a range of clever driver assistance technology, which the firm says will make off-road driving more manageable.

Ford’s Terrain Management System comes with a choice of seven driver profiles – four of which are geared towards off-road conditions. On top of the usual Normal, Eco and Sport modes, buyers also get Ford’s Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl settings, each of which play with the Bronco’s diff-locks and traction control to keep the car moving.

There’s also a new Trail Control cruise control, which is specifically designed to manage the car’s powertrain at low speeds. This is coupled with Ford’s Trail Turn Assist function, which the company says will use torque vectoring to tighten the Bronco’s off-road turning radius.

There’s also a choice of two transmission options, with buyers offered either a seven-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The former has a class-leading low-range crawler gear ratio of 94.75:1, while the latter has a maximum crawl ratio of 67.8:1.

The new Ford Bronco’s styling was heavily inspired by the firm’s first-generation model. The company’s engineers started the off-roader’s design process by 3D scanning the original model and working around its proportions, essentially rescaling its lines to meet modern safety and performance requirements.

It shares the same slab-sided, bluff-nosed design as its predecessor, albeit with a range of modern conveniences such as LED daytime running lights, improved material quality, more accommodating seats and Ford’s bang-up-to-date SYNC 4 infotainment technology. The infotainment system is available with either an eight or 12-inch screen and it’s coupled with a digital instrument cluster.

The off-roader is available in either two- or four-door body styles – and both options come with removable frameless doors and a range of modular body panels, including a removable hardtop, a stowable fabric soft-top and snap-in rear quarter light windows. Four-door models have four removable roof panels.

Ford has designed the Bronco’s interior to be hose-down – so, some models are available with interior drain holes, mildew resistant vinyl seats and washable rubber floor mats in place of carpets. The digital instrument binnacle and infotainment screen are also wipe-down, while the car’s switchgear is protected with silicone rubber to prevent water ingress.

Steve Fowler

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