EXCLUSIVE: Ford Bronco Pickup Coming to Battle Jeep Gladiator!
Ford is planning to launch a pickup truck based on the 2021 Bronco SUV to compete with the just-minted Jeep Gladiator. The Ford Bronco pickup truck is scheduled for production in July 2024, according to AutoForecast Solutions, which indicates design and engineering began no more than a few months before the Jeep pickup launched. That launch date would be well within the lifecycle of the upcoming 2021 Bronco, a Ranger-based Jeep Wrangler competitor. Another source notes that with both a Ranger Raptor (based on the next-generation of that midsize pickup) and the Focus-based unibody 2021 Ford Courier on the way, he doesn’t expect the Bronco pickup earlier than calendar 2022.
Unlike the 1960s Bronco, which for a time was available as a small, two-door single-cab pickup alongside with the better-known SUV version, the new Bronco-based pickup will certainly come exclusively as a four-door double cab, and among our sources has evoked memories of the Explorer SportTrac models. That means we might expect a shorter bed behind the cab than the one fitted to the Gladiator. We can also probably expect to see some of the other Bronco SUV features that have been uncovered/confirmed appear on the pickup, including this available engine, an available hybrid powertrain, this reconfigurable top, and these removable doors. Like the Wrangler, the new Bronco SUV will also be available as a two-door version.
Naturally, Ford will base the pickup truck on the upcoming body-on-frame ’21 Bronco expected after mid-2020, not the Escape-based unibody “baby Bronco” (possibly called Bronco Scout) scheduled to make its premiere a bit earlier. The ’21 Ford Bronco likely will be built on some version of the next-generation Ranger’s bones, one source says, and will join that pickup in Michigan’s Wayne Assembly Plant. The new-for-2019 North American Ford Ranger was adapted from a global version of the midsize pickup after a seven-model-year hiatus, although it was heavily reworked to meet our market’s demanding truck standards. Ford has been adamant that it will not design a Raptor version of the current North American Ranger (there is a current Ranger Raptor in other markets), though Raptor versions of the new Bronco and its pickup derivative are highly likely, probably within a year after each standard model’s launch.
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Since General Motors relaunched the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon for North America, the market offerings below the Ram 1500/Ford F-150/Chevy Silverado have proliferated. While a Ford Bronco truck would compete more or less directly with the Jeep Gladiator, Fiat Chrysler also announced last year that Ram will get a modern, Dodge Dakota–style midsize pickup, which would compete with more mainstream “midsize” pickups such as the Colorado, Canyon, and Ranger, as well as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.
When contacted for comment on this story, a Ford spokesperson responded that the automaker doesn’t speak on future product.