For Ford Bronco fans it has been a long wait to see a new Ford Bronco model. The wait is finally over as Ford reveals the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport.
The Ford Broncos came loaded with goodies on Tuesday at an off-road vehicle park near Holly, Michigan.
Yakima racks, a fishing pole holder attached to the front of one, a winch to “rescue your lesser equipped 4×4 friends” on another, an interior bike rack to carry two mountain bikes inside yet another.
Need a bottle opener to crack open a cold one when you get to your campsite? It’s right underneath the liftgate. How about a place to attach a camera or phone? It’s there on the dash.
There was even an appearance of a Bronco version of tube doors, those gnarly metal contraptions that let the open air in while you drive and have been seen at any number of Jeep events.
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This was a chance for the Ford folks to show off the kinds of wild extras, not all of them actually available, that they hope will build a dedicated following for the new Bronco as well as hit Jeep, its main competitor, in one of the areas where that brand excels: accessories.
A short distance from some twisty and hearty off-road trails, Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, touted the excitement generated by the Bronco in just the last few weeks — more than 165,000 $100 reservations — as well as lots of opportunities to customize those rides when the vehicle arrives beginning with the 2021 Bronco Sport later this year.
“In a way, with the modification and the personalization that we can do for our dealers or at the factory, every customer, if they want, can have a unique, one-of-a-kind Bronco,” LaNeve said.
Ford said the Bronco can claim more than 200 “factory-backed” accessories for the two-and four-door models and more than 100 for the Sport model.
That’s not as hefty as Jeep, which, through Mopar, “includes more than 500 factory-engineered, quality-tested off-road performance parts and accessories,” according to an FCA spokesman, but it does show that Ford has a plan.
Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Markit, said Jeep’s connection to accessories is one of the things that differentiates the brand from others.
“(Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has Mopar and a much broader and deeper aftermarkets parts division, and there’s a little bit of strength there,” she said.
But Ford, in its preparations for bringing back the Bronco, has been able to observe its competition.
“You can go to a Jeep Wrangler event to see what people do to their vehicles,” she said, of the enthusiastic customizing that happens.
The “magic” for Ford is in being able to take the notion of accessorizing an off-road vehicle and making it easier to manage and less intimidating for people who don’t currently use their vehicles to hit the trails. It could also help the company pursue not only Wrangler sales but retain customers who might be driving something completely different, like a Ford Fusion, Brinley said.
The company acknowledged that it has a vision of roping in some newbies. Among the “adventure-inspired” Bronco concepts were a four-door Outer Banks Fishing Guide version, a couple of different trail rigs and a Bronco Sport Off-Roadeo Adventure Patrol.
That last concept is designed to highlight an outdoor playground idea opening next summer, with the first one planned for Austin, Texas, for owners of the Bronco two- and four-door Bronco Sport Badlands series.
“At each of our four Bronco Off-Roadeo locations, we want owners and enthusiasts — even those who are off-road novices — to have as much fun as off-road pros and we want to provide them with knowledge and experience to make their future Bronco adventures even greater,” said Mark Grueber, Bronco brand marketing manager.
The Adventure Patrol was a red concept vehicle featuring the interior bike rack and various other off-road extras but also a drone landing spot on the hood to “record customers’ adventures.”
Contact Eric D. Lawrence: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.
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