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2019 March
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Car and Driver: Ford Promises Four New SUVs Within Four Years, Signs Continue to Point to Reborn Bronco

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1966 Ford Bronco

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During a speech at the 2016 Chicago auto show, Mark LaNeve, Ford’s VP of marketing, sales, and service, stated that the automaker sees no signs of the SUV and crossover boom abating within the next decade. To meet rising demand in America and abroad, then, Ford plans to introduce four new SUV models within 48 months, all of which will slot into segments currently uncontested by the Dearborn-based company. We’ve also confirmed that all four will wear nameplates not in circulation in the global Ford fleet.

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A subcompact crossover is the most obvious new addition to the lineup, given the scorching-hot status of that segment, which includes entries like the Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, and Mazda CX-3. Ford has sold the Fiesta-based EcoSport overseas for a few years now, so it has experience with such a model, even if it will arrive late to an increasingly crowded party in the U.S.

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It’s also our understanding that not all of the new SUVs will be sold wearing blue-oval badges, which means Lincoln is in the running for at least one. The luxury brand has a hole in its lineup between the two-row MKX and the truckish Navigator where a larger three-row crossover would take on the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, Audi Q7, etc. The goofy-looking MKT doesn’t count, as it’s heading for the chopping block.

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As for the third, we’re confident that it will be a reborn Bronco. Fitting Ford’s announcement, the nameplate has been hanging on a peg in Dearborn for two decades, while at the same time Ford offers no off-road-focused, rough-and-ready SUV. The company also no doubt would love to horn in on the massive profits enjoyed by the Jeep Wrangler, which has no real competition right now, and details in the latest Ford/UAW contract appeared to indicate that a new Bronco will be built alongside a new Ranger small pickup starting in 2018. Finally, fans have been clamoring for a Bronco redux for years, and recently installed CEO Mark Fields seems to enjoy rewarding the faithful—witness the new GT supercar and the resurrected Mustang GT350.

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The fourth is where we’re a bit stumped. Might Ford attempt a coupe-UV in the mold of the BMW X6? Or maybe pull the massive Excursion from dry dock, optional diesel engine, rear barn doors, and all? Or perhaps launch an eensy Lincoln to head off the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and forthcoming Audi Q1? Your guess is as good as ours.

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Ford anticipates continued high demand for SUVs and crossovers due to the vast number of Millennials and Baby Boomers in the marketplace—there are some 80 million of each, it says. The former are beginning to raise families, Ford says, while the latter will continue to cling to the vehicles they’ve driven for two-plus decades, or return to them when they want something that’s easier to get in and out of. While it’s easy to see this as a shortsighted move based on today’s low gas prices, Ford’s research indicates that, if faced with rising fuel costs, these buyers would prefer to move down a rung on the SUV size ladder than switch to another body style. Ford also cited increased efficiency as an offset to potential gas-price spikes.
-2016 Chicago Auto Show Full Coverage

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