The countdown continues to the unveiling of the long-awaited Ford Bronco, which is set to launch this coming Monday, July 13th at 8:00 p.m. EDT across Disney network channels. At that time, customers will be able to reserve their very own Bronco in exchange for a $100 refundable deposit. In the meantime, Ford is introducing the “all-new Bronco brand” which will include off-road driving schools in the United States, new “Built Wild” DNA, and a new community for enthusiasts.
The newest Bronco will be available in two door, four-door (for the first time), and Sport configurations. The Bronco will be the only domestic SUV brand with a standard 4×4.
“Bronco gave rise to the fun and versatile off-road SUV in 1966, becoming the first enjoyable sport utility vehicle for those who wanted to live, work and play outdoors,” Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer, said. “Like the original, the all-new Bronco family is engineered to take you to epic places, with capability to deliver confidence on any type of terrain.”
What is “Built Wild?”
Well, the easiest way to explain would be for you to watch the video above. Simply put, Ford’s Built Wild brand positioning includes three principles: extreme durability testing, capability, and innovative design. Adhering to the guidelines, Ford promises a vehicle that is superior in off-road settings.
Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing consists of several “torture tests” that ensure that the Bronco is ready to dominate the off-road after thousands of hours in the lab, on the proving ground, and in “real world extreme challenges in the toughest and harshest climates.”
Built Wild Capability is provided by its aforementioned standard 4×4, as well as an exclusive terrain management system, and Bronco-variant design and architecture for absolute capability and leading suspension technology.
Finally, Built Wild Innovative Design ensures that the Bronco is the “future of off-roading” thanks to its engrained DNA, courtesy of its storied heritage. Ford has paired this with access to personalization that can “flatter the novice and challenge the expert adventure seeker.”
Bronco wasn’t just created without thought. Ford’s experience with off-road SUVs dates back to the second World War, when it was involved in a government-run competition to build carry-all utilities for GIs in the battlefield. Ford presented what was called a GP, or General Purpose, of which 270,000+ were built for the Allied forces. Upon finishing their tours of duty, GIs bought Army surplus GPs for civilian use, but soon realized that they lacked the space and comfort needed for daily use. This understanding led Ford to create a “more refined, spacious, yet durable off-road vehicle” for GI use. It was called the Ford Bronco.
Ford product manager Donald Frey nicknamed the original Bronco the G.O.A.T. During the design of the SUV, Frey challenged engineering teams to deliver “go anywhere roadability,” and deliver they did. The 1966 Bronco was revealed on August 11, 1965, and was the first reference to an SUV from an American manufacturer. The Bronco would go on to win the 1969 Baja 1000, which has not been replicated by another production 4×4 since.
“Rugged vehicles are in our heritage and we see strong growth opportunities with this ever-more popular segment,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, Americas and International Markets Group. “The Bronco brand meets that need by creating a family of truly capable off-roaders to take our customers further into the wild. We’ve leveraged extensive off-road experience from vehicles like our F-150 Raptor to ensure that every Bronco delivers the ‘Built Wild’ toughness and durability our customers expect.”
Since its creation, the Bronco has seen its share of popular culture references, with appearances in more than 1,200 films and 200 songs. Since Ford’s announcement of the Bronco’s return in January of 2017, valuations of earlier Broncos have shot up – first generation sale prices have nearly doubled from $39,763 to $74,820. Hagerty has ranked 1966-1977 Broncos as being amongst the highest vehicle price increases of collectible SUVs since the announcement, with a 75.8-percent gain.
“Bronco delivers on the common thread desired by enthusiasts – authenticity,” said Mark Grueber, Ford U.S. consumer marketing manager. “Building Bronco as Ford’s distinct outdoor brand includes a unique network of experiences, community and engagement that extends far beyond ownership of Bronco and Bronco Sport models.”
Ford is working in overdrive to make sure enthusiasts enjoy the wheels off of the new Bronco. Among the plans for new owners are “Bronco Roadeos” which are four off-roading and outdoor adventure playgrounds that will excite novice and experienced drivers alike. The adventures are meant to build confidence and inspire Bronco owners to plan their own adventures.
Additionally, Bronco owners of the past and future can come together at Bronco Nation, which is an independent online community offering knowledge (including vintage Bronco information), shared off-road adventures (like trails and event calendars), and more.
Finally, Ford is going to be offering all-new Bronco merchandise, from Bronco gear to RC cars for the Bronco enthusiast in your life. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Bronco brand’s stewardship efforts.
Ford promises that the Bronco brand will continue to build its legacy as the Official Vehicle of King of the Hammers, ULTRA4 series, as well as the official SUV of SCORE-International.