What we have here are 100 Ford dealers that have banded together to form separate, dedicated Bronco showrooms. This was not a top-down request from the Mothership but a dealer-driven idea. And it is what looks like an attempt to make Bronco a completely separate brand.
Right now Ford has two brands; Ford and Lincoln. Mercury bit the dust in 2010. Could Ford absorb a third Bronco brand? The last time Ford tried to spin off a separate brand was in 1958 with the Edsel.
That was doomed for three reasons, a derivative product-it was either a re-bodied Ford or re-bodied Mercury depending on how you saw it. The design was not received well-the “horse-collar grille was likened to the face you make sucking a lemon. And the third and maybe most significant was that it debuted right when a major recession hit in 1958.
Is Bronco becoming a new, separate brand?
But an attempt to turn the Bronco into a third brand improves on those Edsel-ills. It has great styling, a good platform, and the economy is definitely on the upswing. And demand for new vehicles is through the roof at the moment. As we slowly come out of the pandemic things are on the upswing.
Once the dealers approached Ford about the Bronco brand idea they asked for help with what it would like to see standalone stores look like. Ford obliged, and went a step further. It offered to allocate more Broncos to dealers with standalone dealerships according to Automotive News.
So now these new showrooms will feature the Bronco horse logo and not the Ford oval. “It’s an announcement to the world we’re back; the Bronco is back,” Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Ariz., and chairman of Ford’s national dealer council, told Automotive News. “It’s such an iconic product that in an absolute way, we feel a Ford dealer is really adding almost an additional franchise.”
Bronco must be a huge hit for dealers to shovel more money into sales
As it stands now if you’re a Ford dealer you can go the standalone route, expand your existing showroom, or feature prominent Bronco displays in your existing showroom. Obviously, dealers wouldn’t be looking at such an expensive path for selling a new model if it did not see lots of preorders and interest. We knew there were both, but not to the extent that dealers are looking to shovel so much into selling the new SUV.
Ford has turned the initial 190,000 reservations into almost 150,000 firm orders. So far. While the Bronco Sport is already on dealer lots the full-size Bronco isn’t expected to arrive until June. For the first quarter of 2021, Ford sold almost 25,000 Bronco Sport models.
Looking for similar interest and enthusiasm as with Jeep products, Ford is pushing the availability of hundreds of accessories. And it is already expanding the models it makes with a Bronco pickup due at the end of 2023 or 2024. The separate showroom concept is also similar to Jeep’s where 600 Stellantis dealers have stepped up.