For every Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes or Lexus, there is also a Ford that shows up at dealerships all the time. The Bronco and the Wrangler are two iconic American brands that can’t go anywhere but in one direction. Sales have both steadily risen over the last decade, with the Wrangler consistently having the best selling sports utility vehicle. So, as we head into a new SUV cycle that features hybrids, AWD, all-wheel drive, AWD luxury SUVs, the battle of the Bronco versus the Wrangler will be epic.
Here are two old faces looking to reignite their respective brands. If Ford manages to entice in millennial interest, this new Bronco will have a big sales impact. If Jeep refreshes the Wrangler and reinvents it, this is a great way to grab brand new buyers at the expense of Ford. Of course, neither new Bronco is really a Bronco at all — it won’t have the APOC steel bodyshell and it won’t be as utilitarian. But based on a few design clues, we believe this is the first step in the creation of the most iconic American family SUV — one that will eventually take on the Wrangler as the King of SUVs.
Ford is selling around 12,000 Bronco trucks a year — there’s room for improvement there. We expect the 2019 update to provide a resurgence in interest in Bronco ownership. That being said, we still think the Wrangler is more iconic for Jeep. Jeep isn’t trying to reinvent the Wrangler for the mass market. They are in it for the ultimate practicality of their top-selling vehicles. But if Ford can’t dominate the Bronco title, we can see the Wrangler taking over as the ultimate all-around vehicle. Even with the new AWD-equipped, feature-packed Wrangler, the brand has no reason to deviate from this core concept of utility. Even so, we expect the Wrangler to continue to be the most wanted vehicle among Jeep buyers.
We think the Bronco can improve its reach among Gen X and Gen Y buyers who are also more willing to experiment with other brands. It will be no easy feat, but there’s no rule that says Ford can’t take on a great competitor and steal their market share. But the key will be that the Bronco update is enough to convince these potential Bronco buyers to consider Ford as a brand, not just a Ford.
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