Salivating over the new Ford Bronco? You aren’t the only one. Ford has gotten everyone excited with the new Broncos, and in India, too, enthusiasts are looking at possibilities via which the iconic nameplate could make its way here.
Ford has taken the wraps off three models, the Bronco 2-door, the Bronco 4-door and the Bronco Sport, the former two use a ladder-frame construction while the Sport is based on a monocoque platform. In the US, all three are priced at the more affordable end of the market, the Sport starts at the equivalent of Rs 19 lakh, the 2-door at Rs 21 lakh while the 4-door range begins at Rs 24 lakh, unlike the Defender which is oriented towards the luxury end of the spectrum starting at Rs 37 lakh.
So Ford could look at importing a few into India under the 2,500 unit homologation exemption rule, if and when right-hand-drive models are released. Interestingly, though, the ladder-frame architecture used is that of the Ranger/Endeavour, so, technically, India could even build the Bronco. Volumes, though, for these specialist SUVs may not support the additional investment still required.
The Bronco Sport, on the other hand, has more mass appeal and it could rival the Compass, Creta brigade but it, however, uses the Ford Escape’s C2 platform, which isn’t here in India. Importing the Sport would make it hard to justify the premium on what is a mainstream model. So, will the Bronco’s India outing be limited to just imports of the larger models? Not quite. Here’s where things could get really interesting.
Ford is now in a joint venture with Mahindra and the two are expected to share many models, the first being the W601 or the next-generation XUV500. And I believe this would be the perfect platform for Ford to drop the Bronco Sport top hat onto and, of course, its nameplate too. Now this could be wishful thinking but there is also merit. Ford is after all working on a completely different exterior and interior for their version, as they know the last thing they need is a rebadged or facelifted XUV.
The borrowed top hat idea isn’t new either, it’s been done before. The Captur and Kicks are both top hats from international models grafted onto the lower-cost M0 platform and while both aren’t success stories by a long shot, their problems stem from price, positioning and brand image, not the platform approach.
Using the Bronco Sport top hat would give the Ford a very distinct identity, separating it from its sibling, and the name would also immediately bestow upon its version great brand value, something that will go a long way in competing in a crowded segment. Also bear in mind, ‘Bronco’ is now an SUV sub-brand and not a single model, like its namesake predecessor, so using the moniker on the W601 wouldn’t require the nightmare corporate hurdle jumping it would have otherwise had.
In all probability, Ford is already considering all this and I hope it does materialise. Using the Bronco Sport name and top hat on the W601 would be a wise move and what a fantastic doff of the ‘top hat’ to the Indian market.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport SUV unveiled
2021 Ford Bronco SUV revealed
2021 Ford Bronco image gallery
2021 Ford Bronco Sport image gallery