By @Laura #1976
After 25 years without a Bronco product and nearly 16 months of COVID-related restrictions, it makes sense that the U.S. is looking for something new, fresh, and fun. For some, the 2021 Bronco is the answer, and for many others –– including an entirely new market –– it’s the Bronco Sport.
“We’re bringing in a different customer,” says Jovina Young, brand manager for the Sport. “The popularity comes from a combination: One, bringing back this brand when we did. We’ve been removed from the market for a while, and we’ve had enthusiasts clamoring for Bronco to come back. Two, the strategic decision to enter the small SUV segment with a vehicle that lives up to the Bronco name.”
The timing, design, and engineering certainly have hit right on the mark, judging by the public’s comments and dealer statistics.
“There’s been a lot of positive feedback from customers going into the showroom,” says Young. “The vehicle is visual striking; it looks cool. Dealers can’t keep them in the dealerships: The vehicle has been really hot, about 13 days on average to turn. Our dealers are just waiting to get more inventory from us, saying as soon as they get them in, they are selling them.”
This is impressive, considering that the small SUV segment isn’t as engaged as the typical Bronco enthusiast. And this isn’t a one-off region occurrence, either. It’s happening across the country, even in markets Ford hasn’t traditionally been in.
“Markets out west –– L.A. and San Francisco –– are doing extremely strong,” says Young. For a decent stint, L.A. was actually the top selling market. “They outsold Detroit for a couple of months.”
Young attributes the broad demand to several reasons:
The nameplate of the vehicle: Bronco is known for being a 4×4 champion, and the Sport is gaining its own reputation. “There are a lot of videos out there of Bronco Sport being pushed to its limits on different trails,” says Young. “People are really impressed by the capability this vehicle has. All the innovations are what make it stand out.”
The vehicle’s design: “There was a white space in the market,” says Young. “If you look at a lot of small SUVs, they are all that sleek, swoopy body style. The Bronco Sport came out and broke the mold. It’s very boxy, and it drives very big, because of the things like the way the hood is designed. You don’t feel like you’re in a small vehicle, but it comes at a small SUV price point.”
The outdoor lifestyle: “Getting outdoors –– and an outdoor lifestyle –– connects with people right now. The Bronco makes it so easy to do that in your daily life. Everyone has been stuck inside for so long; the idea of enjoying your life outside hits a chord.”
What’s Good for the Brand Is Good for the Fans
Directionally, this vehicle is sourcing a younger customer (18-35) than Ford has in the past. On top of that, the public is sure they are ready to own this vehicle.
“Only about seven percent are leasing, with the rest purchasing,” says Young. “Anecdotally, dealers say people are trading in a lot of Jeeps, and that this is the most they’ve seen of Subaru owners coming into a Ford dealership.”
So, while the audience for the Bronco Sport is different than that of the Bronco, the widespread interest, plus the Sport’s capabilities, could mean some exciting things for longstanding Bronco enthusiasts and owners as well –– namely, more people with which to enjoy a legacy brand, teach about the off-road lifestyle, and meet up with for outdoor adventures.
To that we say: We’re glad you found us, and please enjoy the drive.