As Ford fans and aficionados eagerly await the official reveal of the forthcoming Bronco, many are nonetheless left wondering why, exactly, Ford has decided to reboot the legendary model. Of course, the answer to that question isn't exactly simple, as a wide variety of factors play into every decision made by one of the largest automobile manufacturers, and indeed corporations, on the planet. In short, every carmaker has to balance consumer demand, economic forces, production factors, and marketability when settling on a new design or model.
For the Bronco, the first factor that seems increasingly to have made a serious impact on Ford's decision to resurrect one of the most quintessential SUVs of all time surrounds the ever-steady rise of the crossover. As much as gearheads may feel a sense of revulsion at the less-capable spawn of an SUV and a minivan, the car-buying public has made it abundantly clear that crossovers are what they want. And crossovers are what they'll get—to an extent.
And yet, since the rumors of a new Bronco began to swirl and fans started to get nervous about a potentially weak product, the new iteration now seems unlikely to be a crossover. Instead, Ford may be about to unveil a 'Baby Bronco' to complement the full-SUV version, although the truth will only be revealed with time. Regardless, it's important to remember that Ford has openly stated that their future automobiles will all be built on a grand total of five platforms. A Baby Bronco could therefore very well share its platform with a Focus Active, in a front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive layout. Meanwhile, the bigger brother Bronco could share a rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive platform with the Explorer and Navigator (and even possibly future Mustangs).
But while Ford is undoubtedly catering to more of a city-going crowd with a potential crossover version of the Bronco, so are many manufacturers. The industry, as a whole, has realized that plenty of folks in town still drive their big SUVs and pickup trucks, especially for use as family vehicles. And with most of Ford's sedans and commuter cars getting axed by the next step in the Ford One vision—which helped the company recover from the Great Recession—they undoubtedly believe another vehicle that can appeal to both urban and rural buyers will be critical for the company's success.
If an amalgamation of leaked photos and fan renderings prove accurate, either one or both of the new Broncos will have a bit of a retro-futuristic theme. Of course, that whole fad helped Detroit's tanking process during the early-2000s, but it remains to be seen whether today's marketplace is one that might allow the forthcoming Bronco to find widespread consumer appeal.