bwomp91

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Article from Detroit News about early surge in reservations Pretty cool and happy to see numbers crush expectations!

Ford executives, dealers report big early demand for 2021 Bronco

July 17, 2020

Dearborn — Ford Motor Co. was confident the 2021 Bronco would be a hit.

But within just a few days of the debut of the all-new off-road SUV, which is mounting a comeback 24 years after Ford discontinued it, Ford executives and franchise dealers say demand has been "overwhelming."

Although the automaker won't say how many $100 deposits it's received since the Monday night debut of the new family of vehicles that includes Sport, two-door and four-door models.

The reservation page crashed soon after the 8 p.m. debut because so many people were attempting to log on at once, Ford says. A First Edition model with a limited run of 3,500 was spoken for by the end of the night.

One Phoenix-area dealer said he had more than 500 deposits by Friday morning.

"I was super-optimistic about the product," Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service for the Blue Oval, told The Detroit News on Friday. "But the number (of reservations) that I had in my mind that we would get in the first two weeks, we have completely blown away in four days."

Industry analysts, however, say that while advance reservations are a good gauge of demand for a new product, only time will tell how successful the Bronco will be — and, with a lot riding on the launch, it's imperative it goes off without a hitch.

Bronco vs. Jeep

Ford officials, dealership owners and fans say it's the right time for the Bronco's return, as the market for off-road SUVs grows and many Americans turn to outdoor adventures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The resurrected Bronco also taps into nostalgia many feel for the SUV that originally had run from 1966 through 1996. And, dealers agreed, the Ford design team hit the nail on the head: Yes, the Bronco comes equipped with the latest technology, but, most importantly, it looks like the original 1966 version.

Experts say there is plenty of room in the off-road segment — for years dominated by the Jeep Wrangler — for a new vehicle, especially as Americans continue to favor SUVs over sedans.

It's no secret that Ford is attempting to go head-to-head with Jeep by reintroducing the Bronco, but LaNeve said he sees the two customer bases as somewhat distinct. Winning over Jeep customers is "not necessarily our ambition," he said. "We think there's enough market out there."

Ford executives and dealers described Bronco as hitting a certain sweet spot the original Bronco was known for: It has off-road capability, but many will simply drive it to the supermarket.

Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for auto information website Edmunds.com, however, says most anyone who is shopping for an off-road vehicle is going to look at both Jeep and Bronco: "There is more overlap than there is the opposite."

Early enthusiasm
San Tan Ford is the Arizona dealership that says it had 500-plus reservations by Friday. Owner Tim Hovik had hoped to hit 100.

"This is beyond my wildest expectation," said Hovik, who is vice chairman of Ford's national dealer council and has been in the auto industry for 29 years.

The hype leading up to the return of the Bronco lasted so long that Hovik wasn't sure the actual rollout Monday would keep people's attention.

"It was probably the longest lead-up to a reveal in automotive history," he said. "So when we hit the 'reveal' button and we pushed 'go,' to have this level of enthusiasm, that to me has been a big part of this story."

Nearly 2,000 miles across the country, Rhett Ricart, president of Ricart Automotive Group outside Columbus, Ohio, says his dealership so far has taken about 100 reservations.

"It blew right past the Mach-E, and the Mach-E was unbelievable," Ricart said of Ford's upcoming electric SUV. "(Ford) hit every button on this one. I wish I had it right now, as a dealer."

Ricart, an enthusiast who owns a 1977 Bronco, was impressed by the range of tools on the new Bronco that he likens to a Swiss Army knife.

Doug North, president of North Brothers Ford in Westland, said his dealership has about 50 reservations — "huge," he says, compared to the 15 or 20 they got for the Mach-E. He reserved two of the "Wildtrak" trim levels (Ford offers six) for himself and his wife.

But only time will tell if the Bronco is a true success, says Edmunds' Drury. The buzz around the launch puts extra pressure on Ford to get it right, especially on the heels of a botched Explorer launch in 2019: "It cannot go poorly."

And the true measures of success won't be known for years. It's one thing for hardcore fans to rush to put down a deposit; the real test, he said, will be: "Does it have staying power?"

Eric Wilkinson, 33, of Howell falls into the hardcore fan category. He was on Ford's website at 8:01 p.m. Monday making a reservation for a four-door Bronco, and he managed to snag one of the First Edition models.

He and his wife are classic-car enthusiasts who own vintage Broncos and Mustangs. And, as a sales manager at Hines Park Ford in New Hudson, Wilkinson gets to be part of the excitement as both a salesman and customer. His dealership had gotten about 160 reservations by Friday, he said.

Now, with production not starting for months: "I've got to sit and wait with bated breath, not only to sell them, but to get my own."
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EvlNvrDys

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Nice that there is a surge and all, but give us some numbers dammit!

For all we know a surge is 20k reservations. Or maybe it's 80k or 120k... well what is it?
 

chtucker

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Nice that there is a surge and all, but give us some numbers dammit!

For all we know a surge is 20k reservations. Or maybe it's 80k or 120k... well what is it?
I hate gambling, but I am betting it is over 100k

If the dealers in that article are telling the truth (500 and 120+ reservations) at one dealer... x 3000 dealers..

It is huge.. I can't imagine that the average dealer is at 20-40 reservations
 

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I doubt these reservations are considered to be anything more than an expression of interest. I would expect the fully refundable $100 deposits to have a very low conversion rate into actual purchases, something less than 50% anyway. It's a very clever way to gauge effectiveness of the marketing campaign but a lousy metric for forecasting sales.
 

AKBronc49

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I hate gambling, but I am betting it is over 100k

If the dealers in that article are telling the truth (500 and 120+ reservations) at one dealer... x 3000 dealers..

It is huge.. I can't imagine that the average dealer is at 20-40 reservations
My local dealer who called to verify my reservation almost 24 hours after launch had 40 reservations already. They were surprised by it.
 
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bwomp91

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I doubt these reservations are considered to be anything more than an expression of interest. I would expect the fully refundable $100 deposits to have a very low conversion rate into actual purchases, something less than 50% anyway. It's a very clever way to gauge effectiveness of the marketing campaign but a lousy metric for forecasting sales.
Sure, I don't think anyone at Ford thinks the number of reservations is going to translate. But it's still a great metric for general interest, especially when compared to other "big releases" from Ford recently like the Mustang Mach E. Regardless, at the end of the day surpassing expectations (even on something as innocent as $100 deposits for reservations) is a positive.
 

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I agree, I think about 30% will actually turn into actual orders. Take away those of us that have two reservations and only plan to order one (thanks Ford website for making me waste my time and yours). Plus, you take away impatient people, budget constraint people, etc.

Anyway, a lot of these dealers shouldn't get too excited as we all start to look for the best deal and move our reservations come December.

Granger might only have a medium amount now, but come December, they are going to have a LOT of orders originating from their dealership.
 

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I bet the volume of reservations is exactly what Ford leadership expected. Ford would have known months ago they had a winner on their hands and planned the reservation concept to heighten interest. Holding off on releasing the options list and prices would be their next logical step. Delaying the purchase step until the end of the year is simply a continuation of the drama. They know purchasing a vehicle can be an emotional involvement. If you heighten the drama, many buyers will turn a blind eye to both the price of options and a potential delay in the build cycle if they are crushed with demand. This should be an exciting journey we are on! Fasten your seat belts!
 

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Our dealer here in Costa Mesa, CA had 150+ reservations after only one day. I agree, many will drop out, but I'm willing to bet the fail rate is only half. Just my two cents. Folks seem excited. Reminds me of the launch of the Mazda Miata back in 1990. Never got one. Stuck with my '65 Mustang all these years. J
 

gatorfan62

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First post.

My dealer had 50 reservations on the second day and said the other local ford dealer had 150, 3k Ford dealerships in the US, do the math. I'm guessing at least 200k reservation so far
 
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