Bronco: The Incredible Return Story

Motivated by fan fervor and their own passion, a secret team of integrated Ford employees worked on the Bronco Lap for 25 years.

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Bronco holds a special place in popular culture and in the history of Ford. For this reason, when the cessation of its production was announced on June 12, 1996, clients and even collaborators of the company received the news with sadness.

1993 Ford BroncoHowever, that day also became the kick that would drive his comeback 25 years later. From that moment on and united by the need to continue sharing experiences with the brand, thousands of Bronco enthusiasts created the community. Bronco nation, the first in the United States to be recognized and certified by Ford.

To this social impulse, the desire of a team of 20 employees Ford named as Bronco Underground (Underground Bronco), who secretly worked in his spare time, with no set hours and just out of passion to think about how they could bring Bronco back and make the dream come true.


Mark grueber, Consumer Marketing Manager for Ford United States, was one of those who was part of Bronco Underground, this secret team also made up of engineers, designers and salespeople, among other people from the company, who worked on the return of the brand since its last generation produced in 1996.

Ford Bronco Sport DesignSuch was the enthusiasm to drive his comeback that Grueber and his wife created in 2002 Bronco Driver Magazine, a quarterly publication dedicated to the Bronco owner community who, in turn, hosted parties, weekend Bronco driver get-togethers, and fairs.

Hundreds of Broncos gathered at an event, realizing the need for people to share experiences with the brand and exchange information no matter where they came from or what generation of Bronco they drove.

Bronco DesignThe initiative of this group of employees added to the fervor of fans made in 2000 Moray callum, Vice President of Design and a member of Bronco Underground, code-named the first sketch for Bronco's return: he called it U260 and included two versions, two and four doors. In addition to designs, planning, marketing and sales studies were carried out to see how a new product could be positioned within the Ford portfolio. However, at this point the team encountered the first hurdle: Ford had bought several European luxury brands, including Land Rover and Jaguar, and had so many SUVs that the U260 project could not move forward.


Two years later, in the Detroit living roomFord caught the attention of enthusiasts and event participants with the unveiling of a new Bronco-style concept, the first built in eight years since its last version, inspired by the first-generation classic. It was also shown at the New York auto show a few months later. But after these presentations, months passed without the company communicating any news about the official return of the brand.

2004 Detroit BroncoBronco Underground did not lose hope and decided to move forward with this version of the concept vehicle and prepare a solid plan to bring it to market. At the time, Ford needed to satisfy a new, slowly growing group of customers: millennials, the generation that sees people born between 1980 and 2000 or so. The Bronco team thought they could take advantage of this gap in the market and develop an SUV for this audience.

During 2006, Bronco Underground worked hard to develop a business project focused on millennial clients that would convince company executives. The team was ready to present the idea. However, he did not have the opportunity to put it on the executives' agenda and due to the attention of other priorities, the project was held back again.


In 2015, Grueber received the call that changed everything: Ford's planning team announced that in the future the Michigan plant would have available capacity, the same that produced the original Bronco, and that they would turn their product portfolio to SUVs and pickups. ups. It was at this point that the idea of ​​making a new Bronco took color until it finally got the green light to move forward.

Ford bronco sportWhen the Ford team led by Callum and the designer Paul Wraith began to officially develop the new bronco, ran into the challenge of shaping the 2021 generation after 25 years since its last production and, in turn, maintaining the DNA of the brand.

El Studio S, a legendary location within the Ford Design Building in Dearborn, Michigan, where models such as the Thunderbird, the Mustang and the original version of the Bronco, it was the place where a group of engineers, designers and product developers did everything imaginable to shape the next generation. They wanted a robust vehicle, with the characteristics of the 4 × 4 GOAT (Goes Over All Terrain, according to its name in English), but at the same time, different.

The first sketches did not have the expected success or acceptance and it was then that Jim Farley, current CEO of Ford Motor Company and then Executive Vice President of Global Markets, challenged the team and asked them to consider two concepts when designing the new vehicle: "Honesty and robustness".

BroncoTo meet this request and also the need for redesign and renewal for this new generation, Callum scanned his 1970 Bronco with a 3D scanner and transferred the measurements to the current Bronco design program to use as the basis for the sketches. In turn, the design team brought in Ford's own Bronco co-workers to learn about their experiences.

But what most enriched the design work of the 2021 Bronco were its customers. Through an initiative from the marketing area, they brought together people who own Bronco in the United States to listen to them, understand their needs, seek solutions, and think of ways to improve their experiences.

Today Bronco is back to uphold the legacy of an iconic vehicle and take its customers' adventure even further with innovative features, technology and the ultimate endurance to enjoy the road.



Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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