Ford planning Bronco-based pickup to take on Jeep Gladiator

Ford Bronco Tease

Can Ford support two medium-size pickup trucks? Ford will reportedly take on the new Jeep Gladiator with a truck based on the upcoming Bronco SUV.

According to Automobile's sources at AutoForecast Solutions, the rumored Bronco pickup will only be available as a full four-door double cab configuration, much like the Gladiator, with a shorter bed than that of the Ranger. That configuration should make it popular with fans of the 2000–10 Explorer Sport Trac. The bedless 2021 Bronco SUV will come in both two-door and four-door body styles. AutoForecast Solutions says that the body-on-frame, Bronco-based pickup will go into production in mid-2024, although another of Automobile's sources says that it could arrive as early as 2022.

As the new Bronco will be derived from the next-generation Ranger pickup, the Bronco-based truck will have features from the Bronco that set it apart from the Ranger. Those could potentially include Wrangler-like removable doors and a novel retractable roof.

We can expect that any Bronco pickup will share drivetrains, including possible hybrid variations, with the regular Bronco and Ranger. The new pickup will likely be built at Ford's Wayne Assembly Plant, just south of Detroit, which received upgrades last year to prepare for Ranger and Bronco production.

These days, it seems that you can sell just about anything from flashlights to sunglasses with some utilitarian styling and use of the word “tactical.”  People want the image of rugged individuality, even if they need actual rugged utility only a small percentage of the time. That is not to say, of course, that there aren't many, many off-road and back-woods enthusiasts eager for a serious 4x4 pickup.

At a time when automakers use all sorts of aerodynamic tricks to improve fuel economy, the popularity of blocky, rugged-looking utility vehicles (some of them with solid front axles, even) continues to grow. Land Rover fans have been practically Pavlovian in their anticipation of the completely redesigned Defender, which Jaguar Land Rover promises will be true to the original, brand-defining, go-anywhere Land Rover. General Motors has even been rumored to be considering a revival of the Hummer brand. Giving those utility vehicles the added utility of a bed isn't going to make the market segment any less popular.