The iconic Ford Bronco nameplate has been officially confirmed as returning to production from 2020, with Aussie-developed T6 Ranger architecture as its basis.
Ford made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, confirming both the US return of the Bronco in 2020 and the Ranger in 2019.
The company's Michigan assembly plant will be responsible for US production, but as yet there is no confirmation of a right-hand drive program. Ford's production facility in Thailand, where the Australian Ranger and its cousin the Everest SUV are manufactured, would be a logical answer were such a program to proceed.
While the Ford Australia design team was involved in developing the overall platform architecture, CarsGuide understands Ford HQ in Dearborn, Michigan will oversee the Bronco's design and engineering.
Ford Australia product communications manager, Damion Smy, would only say that the Bronco is a global vehicle and “will be sold in North America and beyond." Announcements on other markets including Australia will have to wait for the future.
First news of the Bronco's return leaked out last year during the US Presidential election campaign when a union official came to the defence of Ford boss Mark Fields. Ford was at that time being heavily criticised by Donald Trump for plans to shift some vehicle production from the US to Mexico.
Expect plenty of Ranger/Everest mechanicals to be carried over.
“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas. “They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive."
Very few details of the new Bronco have been released and the 2014 Ford Troller T4 concept gives the best available indication of the design cues that will underpin the final product.
The new Bronco will be a Jeep Wrangler rival and is likely to go on sale, at least initially, as a short-wheelbase version. Other, longer wheelbase variants are almost certain to be considered.
Expect plenty of Ranger/Everest mechanicals to be carried over, but North America’s preference for petrol power is likely to see a specific move in the engine department.
Bronco sales ceased in the US in 1996, finishing 30 years and five generations of continuous production.
The much-publicised 1994 police chase of OJ Simpson driving a Bronco amplified the model's profile around the world.
The Ranger was discontinued in the US in 2011.
Would you like to see the Ford Bronco sold in Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.