Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ rival American automaker Ford Motor Company yesterday announced plans to revamp its North American lineup over the next couple of years, resulting in what it says will be the “freshest” lineup in the industry by 2020. Along the way, the global car company intends to reclaim some market share in the off-roader segment, introducing not only a brand-new version of the mid-size Ford Bronco SUV, but also an all-new, smaller SUV aimed squarely at off-road-adventure seekers (per Ford Authority).
The small off-roader doesn’t yet have a name, but from the language used, it seems clear that Ford is aiming to take a bite out of Jeep’s sales.
The unnamed future SUV will be “purpose-built for getting off the highway,” says Ford President of Global Markets Jim Farley, and will deliver the sort of performance “that matches its looks.” The automaker hasn’t divulged whether it will utilize rugged body-on-frame construction like the Wrangler, or use a unibody structure.
The larger Bronco, meanwhile, is confirmed to use body-on-frame construction, riding on the same frame as the just-introduced 2019 Ford Ranger pickup truck. “You can bet [the Bronco] will live up to its off-road legacy,” says Mr. Farley.
“For Jeep, [off-roading] is about rock-crawling in Moab. But our premise is completely different,” Mr. Farley says. “We want to give people true off-road vehicles that are comfortable at higher speeds, on two-track trails, and do well in deep sand on the beach. [Our customers] don’t want their SUVs to look like doomsday vehicles, or have spartan, government-issued interiors.”
“Ford helped start the off-road phenomenon and has majored in off-road capability for decades – from the Bronco to the Raptor. Now, we’re ready to reclaim our rightful place as the off-road vehicle leader.”
The all-new Ford Bronco – Ford’s first in more than 20 years – is expected to launch for the 2020 model year. It’s unknown when the automaker plans to bring its smaller off-road SUV to market.