If you’ve been keeping pace with the latest news out of the Blue Oval, it should come as no surprise that we fully expect the Ford EcoSport to be one of four new CUVs and SUVs to come to America within the next four years. At least twice now, camouflage-clad EcoSports have been spotted near Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters, and crucially, the mini-CUV segment is a hot one in which the automaker currently has no entrants.
Could the storied Ford Bronco also take up one of the four new utility vehicle slots promised by the automaker? This morning, reporters put the question to Ford VP of Sales, Marketing and Service Mark LaNeve at a press event at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, and according to Automotive News, Mr. LaNeve stopped just shy of confirming the rumor.
“It’s a great nameplate,” said Mark LaNeve, with a smile.
The rumored return of the Ford Bronco started with the news that the Focus and C-MAX models would shift away from their current production base of Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, most probably moving to Mexico. Concurrently, all Australian Ford production will cease this October, making Michigan Assembly the most likely future recipient of Ranger production duties.
Introducing a new Ford Bronco on the same platform as the Ranger mid-size pickup would make sense to make use of the Michigan Assembly Plant’s full capacity.
“One of three vehicles sold in 2015 was an SUV, and that will grow to 40 percent of the market by 2020,” said Mr. LaNeve earlier this morning. “Low fuel prices has helped the shift, but it is much more permanent.”