Sometimes all it takes to learn a juicy bit of product news is a little bit of controversy.
In response to Donald Trump’s attack on Ford for moving production of its Focus, C-Max and C-Max Energi compact cars to Mexico, Ford has said that zero jobs will be lost in Michigan, and the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne will get two new vehicles. This past February, Ford announced plans for four new SUV nameplates in the next four years.
While Ford hasn’t been specific about what vehicles Michigan Assembly will get, Bill Johnson, chairman of UAW local 900 that represents workers in Michigan, let that bit of information slip when talking to the Detroit Free Press last week. “We hate to see the products go to Mexico, but with the Ranger and the Bronco coming to Michigan Assembly that absolutely secures the future for our people a lot more than the Focus does.”
If anyone would know what vehicles will be built in Michigan, it is the chairman of the UAW.
This really isn’t a surprise, as we learned last November that the Bronco was coming prior to a UAW vote on a new labor agreement. At the time, we learned that the Ranger was coming for 2018 and the Bronco would be built there by 2020.
It’s taken quite some time for Ford to reach this decision. A concept Bronco (shown above) appeared at the 2004 Detroit auto show, but it led to nothing. That’s understandable given the high fuel prices and new emissions standards that followed.
Now, however, SUV sales keep rising and the auto industry has made all vehicles more efficient.
Given that the Ranger is scheduled to be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant, we can assume that the Bronco will be based on that body-on-frame platform. To be a true Bronco descendant, that’s how it should be. Let’s hope that it’s off-road tough, too, and, heck, Ford should let us take the top off.
Ford has shared no plans to announce the Bronco or the Ranger for the U.S. market. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see both at next year’s Detroit auto show.