Ford Won’t Confirm or Deny Rumors of Bronco’s Return


Ford Bronco OJ Simpson

No doubt Ford could blow the top off Twitter if it announced it was bringing back the Bronco SUV at a time the American public is reliving the cultural watershed moment for the old nameplate.

The People v. O.J. Simpson is setting ratings records on FX Networks, recalling the arrest, trial and exoneration of the former football star and actor more than 20 years ago. That drama was kicked off by California law enforcement’s nationally televised “slow pursuit” of Simpson on Southern California highways in his white Ford Bronco while he considered his options.

But for now, Ford and marketing chief Mark LaNeve told journalists at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the company isn’t biting at the possibility of all this free publicity. According to Automotive News, rumors have been rampant in Detroit that Ford will be bringing back Bronco, which debuted in 1966 as a stripped-down and topless off-road vehicle that competed with the forerunner of the Jeep Wrangler, and then ended production in 1996 as an F-150-based two-door model.

“It’s a great nameplate,” a smiling LaNeve said, according to the publication, when reporters pressed him on a return for the Bronco.

What LaNeve did say is that Ford is interested in bringing out a much smaller SUV, a new compact, to fill the hole in the company’s lineup in the most rapidly growing segment in the US auto industry, where competitors such as Chevrolet, with its Trax, are enjoying a bounty.

For its part, Chevy is showing off the new Trax in Chicago.