The raison d'être for the Bronco and the existential threat to Chrysler Jeep

zaki

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The Ford Bronco has charged onto the scene and adventure SUV lovers have come alive.

A classic American confrontation is at hand. Let us take a look at the stakes.


Jeep, in 2016, sold 926,376 vehicles in Canada and the US and 1.4 million units worldwide.
It increased its sales to 973,227 in 2018 in the US and Canada alone in 2018 and was gunning for 2 million Jeeps by 2020 around the world.

Jeeps are sold in 120 countries around the globe including China and in Europe Italy alone is responsible for 1/2 of all European Jeep sales.

England where 50% of all Land Rovers in Europe are sold, accounts for just 4% of Jeep sales in Europe.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most sold Jeep vehicle and Chrysler has the capacity of producing over 250,000 GC/year. So far, 2020 has seen a 20% decrease in Grand Cherokee sales, likely due to Covid-19, as have other vehicles to a more or lesser degree.

Due to the year round good weather and plenty of opportunities for venturing into the outdoors, more Wranglers are sold in California than in any other state. Wrangler sales in the US and Canada were roughly 190k in 2017, 240k in 2018, 228k in 2019 and so far in 2020 a little over 100 thousand Wranglers have been sold.

Given these numbers it is easy to see that healthy Jeep sales are critical for Chrysler and it can be argued that they are in fact Chrysler’s lifeblood.


Automakers in the US and around the globe are aware of these sales numbers and there is no doubt that the decision to bring Bronco back to life is a financial decision first and foremost. Ford wants a piece of the pie that Chrysler has been gorging itself on alone for too long. Ford has seen that half hearted efforts from other brands including Toyota and GMC have been unable to dethrone the Jeep and if they were to take on Jeep seriously they would have to go with all guns blazing (unlike the Blazer and the FJ Cruiser). They have the advantage of hindsight and know what happened to others who went into the fight half heartedly and given the incentive of the astronomical sales that Jeep produces each year, Ford went in earnestly and well equipped to do battle.

So far, Ford is focusing on sales only in North America but make no mistake this initial volley is just a harbinger of the greater struggle to ensue around the globe when the current and multiple trade and health issues subside. Chrysler is not oblivious to this threat and Ford is not blind to the necessity of taking the challenge to the next and logical step. Ford must establish a good foothold on its native land, establish the ability of the Bronco, show the ground swell of support for it and then move on from there. To this end the Bronco must not disappoint. It must prove to be as capable if not more than Jeep and must show itself to be more reliable. It must keep ownership cost of purchase and of maintenance no higher than Jeep and must continue to produce new variants to keep the enthusiasts engaged and new buyers interested. It will take new first time adventure SUV buyers but it must also take established Jeep owners who are an already established community of buyers of such vehicles.


If Ford, over the next few years can muster even 50% of the sales of Jeep, it would be a great financial boon for it and a near crippling blow to one of its main rivals. While Ford must not lose after spending billions on this war effort, Chrysler cannot afford to lose, period.

If Ford is able to show sizable sales, it might encourage others like Toyota with deep pockets and established off-roading heritage to consider a serious effort to give the legendary FJ40 a second life. It can be a very lucrative move. Chrysler has already shown it to be the case and Ford wants at least half of Chrysler’s take. The pie can be split three ways, it is a very large pie.


Ford vs Ferrari is a film all of us have seen and Ford went in all guns blazing to take on another champion of a different type from a different era and was victorious, if only for long enough to show the world what it was capable of when the bean counters were banished, at least momentarily. Now Ford is taking on a rival not from across the pond but the stakes are higher, much higher. Ford is fighting for something much more tangible than American pride. But so is Chrysler; it must fight for survival and the external challenges to the industry that are leveling the playing field for all automobile manufacturers are only making the struggle more intense and desperate. For enthusiasts like us it is also more interesting in more ways than one.


Bronco vs Jeep, Ford vs Chrysler….let the show begin!





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Spencer

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Bronco will certainly do well here and take a good amount of Jeep sales down, however I don't see Bronco getting anywhere near Jeeps numbers aboard anytime soon, if ever.
 

Bison

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Now that’s just funny!!
 

striker79

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I think its all speculation at this point, I bought my wrangler in 2016 because my 2007 tacoma wasn't 4x4 and i moved to a place where it snowed and needed something that could get off my access road. I loved my tacoma though (2007 access cab pre runner manual 2.7) but when i walked into the dealer to inquire about a 4x4 tacoma or 4runner in cement grey they flat out told me they don't make it (they do and i'm still very bitter about it!) so i thought well lets wander over to the suburu dealer and look at the wrx/sti......flat out told you can look but cant touch, wont let you test drive so i began looking at jeeps and found what at the time was 2016 jkur in tank, watched them roll it off the truck and bought it onsite. But what sold me was i knew i wanted 4.10 gears because i knew i wanted to lift it and they let me test one with 4.10 and one with 3.23 and actually cared. What's since happened is the dealer system sucks at jeep (literally i've driven close to 100 miles to get to different dealerships and they are all the same) so here i am, never owned a ford but i'm interested in the bronco. But i gotta be honest, i've never been to a ford dealership that impressed me and i worry i'll get the same subpar treatment i've gotten from jeep when and if i buy a bronco and take it in for service. This is where i think ford needs to focus and do better! my jeep and i'll venture to guess everyone's jeep leak like they were built in somebody's back yard by high school drop outs and i still love it! why you may ask, The community is f'n amazing! not just the aftermarket but the current jeep community are some of the nicest most helpful people i've ever met. The jeep wave program, easter jeep safari, jeep jamboree etc are all reasons i haven't committed to buying a bronco. Because do i need a sfa? no. the company i work for has xterra's which are similar enough to the bronco to know they will be fine in the snow. But i swore awhile ago that i'm done with forking over 50k plus and being treated no different than than some shit kicker driving a 20k focus and sitting in some dimly lit waiting room for four hours waiting for a simple oil change. So i'll leave you with this, ford fix your dealership experience, ownership doesn't end after i sign the loan docs and drive away, i plan on being in your parts department asking about these 300 plus accessory's, i expect you to call me back when i have questions and i don't think its too much to ask that you treat me like a lifetime customer because that's what i want to be, i desperately want to be a part of a community that makes me excited to be a part of it. i want ford to contact me and ask me questions about my vehicle for no good reason, I want to be wooed and treated like a human being, not a statistic.

#thanks for coming to my ted talk
 

Toccoa

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Not sure why people assumes that 1) every Bronco purchase equals one lost sale for Wrangler and 2) that the purchase pool of people for this type of vehicle is a fixed amount. Clearly, from this forum alone, Bronco is pulling in a wide spectrum of buyers. Some of which, have never even considered this type of vehicle in the past.

Not a rant, just an observation.
 
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rgwinn

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The electric revolution will change off roading. I think the hummer and rivian will be suprising rivals to ford and jeep.
Sure, but what’s their towing capacity?
 

Todkavonic

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Nice summary. Thanks. Some thoughts:

1) Competition will be good for automakers and will be great for consumers.

2) The Bronco is not an existential threat to Chrysler.

3) Chrysler is an existential threat to Chrysler.

Nate
 

vr00m_vr00m

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The electric revolution will change off roading. I think the hummer and rivian will be suprising rivals to ford and jeep.
Ford has invested in Rivian, so yes I do believe it will catch several companies off guard.
 

rjkmoto

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Sure, but what’s their towing capacity?
Electric is just better than ICE, overall in many/most scenarios.

The BIG BIG BIG problem Is how to store/create (onboard) the electricity to run the motors. Once that is fixed, ICE will be a relic relegated to only specific uses.

JK
 
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beachman101

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Sure, but what’s their towing capacity?
The only thing limiting electric vehicles from completely dominating (severely in every category including towing) is the battery tech is still 20 years old.

The second they move to solid state batteries that can charge extremely rapidly (gas fillup speeds) and that dont explode and catch on fire. The ICE car is dead.

However. Much like how the oil industry has prevented ICE cars from being developed. The lithium battery industry will try to kill solid state tech.

Imaging a battery made from a sodium electrode instead of lithium. Glass batteries could change the world
 

rjkmoto

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The only thing limiting electric vehicles from completely dominating (severely in every category including towing) is the battery tech is still 20 years old.

The second they move to solid state batteries that can charge extremely rapidly (gas fillup speeds) and that dont explode and catch on fire. The ICE car is dead.

However. Much like how the oil industry has prevented ICE cars from being developed. The lithium battery industry will try to kill solid state tech.

Imaging a battery made from a sodium electrode instead of lithium. Glass batteries could change the world
The difference is too many things (I.E. almost everything we use in modern life) stands to be immediately improved by magnitudes by getting better batteries and the “tech” world has a long track record of wanting to move to the next big thing.

The only thing keeping better batteries from hitting the market is the science itself. IMHO.

JK
 

beachman101

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The difference is too many things (I.E. almost everything we use in modern life) stands to be immediately improved by magnitudes by getting better batteries and the “tech” world has a long track record of wanting to move to the next big thing.

The only thing keeping better batteries from hitting the market is the science itself. IMHO.

JK
I disagree. In the 1940s we developed nuclear powerplants (molton salt reactors) that physically could not melt down and created very very little nuclear waste. That tech sits on the shelf for big nuclear plants that could make areas uninhabitable for decades.

Never ever doubt the power of large corporations trying to keep stocks high
 

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