Ford is considering reintroducing two once-popular SUV and compact pickup truck nameplates to the US, according to media reports.
An unnamed source told Bloomberg blooming US light truck demand had prompted the automaker to consider reintroducing the Bronco sport utility vehicle and Ranger truck to the US.
The three-door V8 Bronco, based on the F-150 pickup, was last offered for the 1996 model year and its place in the US range effectively was taken by the Explorer, introduced in 1991, with a choice of three or five-door body styles.
The Ranger, a different model from the Thai-built line, was last offfered for MY2011. A variant was also built for sale by Mazda in North America.
If revived, the two models would be built at the Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, that currently makes small cars, a Bloomberg source said.
The move would help Ford preserve some US union jobs amid contract negotiations but the automaker might move Focus and C-Max assembly to Mexico, another Bloomberg source said.
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Bloomberg noted that the revival of the Ranger and Bronco (OJ Simpson’s infamous Los Angeles freeway getaway car two decades ago) would give Ford key models to compete with Toyota and General Motors models.
The Ranger would compete with Toyota's US-built Tacoma, which was redesigned for the 2016 model year, and GM's Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Nissan's Frontier (US variant of the Navara) would be another rival.
The models would also secure jobs for the United Auto Workers union, which is in negotiations for a new contract to replace one that expires next month, the Bloomberg report said.
“We will move production of the next-generation Ford Focus and C-Max, which currently are built at Michigan Assembly Plant, beginning in 2018,” Ford speokeswoman Kristina Adamski told Bloomberg. “We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the negotiations.”
She declined to comment on future products for the factory.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg declined to comment to Bloomberg on the negotiations.