Jovina Young, advertising and marketing supervisor of the Ford Bronco Sport, stands by the automobile she drove within the 2020 Rebelle Rally, an all-female off-road occasion that travels by Nevada and California.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
HOLLY, Mich. – Jovina Young smiles as she reminisces about driving throughout 1,250 miles of Nevada and California desert this fall in a brand new Ford Bronco Sport SUV for an off-road automobile rally.
Young, who labored within the beer business earlier than turning into advertising and marketing supervisor final 12 months of the Bronco Sport, had by no means participated in off-roading earlier than however wished to expertise the capabilities of the brand new SUV for herself.
The journey took eight days, plenty of tenting gear and GPS models weren’t allowed. It was one thing she by no means imagined being part of till she started working at Ford Motor.
“I wanted to make sure I was being authentic in the message I was talking about with Bronco Sport,” the 42-year-old mom of two advised CNBC concerning the Rebelle Rally – an all-female automobile occasion.
While an off-road novice may not appear to be the best candidate for such a automobile, it is folks like Young who’re anticipated to be key to the success of the brand new Bronco Sport, which is arriving in Ford dealerships nationwide. While off-road autos have gotten more and more extra well-liked, it is outdoorsy, mainstream consumers who’re largely driving gross sales of such autos.
“It’s really about choice. Right now outdoor activities and off-road-oriented vehicles are striking a nerve with a number of consumers whether they take them off-road or not,” mentioned Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit.
The 2021 Bronco Sport is a stability of off-road functionality and on-road comfort greater than its bigger, dearer Bronco sibling, which is scheduled to go on sale in the summertime. The Bronco Sport options the styling of the Bronco however is constructed extra like a automotive or crossover than a truck, permitting for a smoother trip.
“We wanted to make sure we had a balance,” Eddie Khan, engineering supervisor of the Bronco Sport, mentioned throughout a media occasion for the automobile at an off-road occasion in suburban Detroit. “We were not tuning this vehicle with the on-road or off-road in mind. We were tuning it with both in mind.”
The Bronco and Bronco Sport are a part of a brand new extremely anticipated “Bronco family” of autos for Ford, together with the potential of a pickup truck within the coming years.
While the Bronco SUV has obtained a lot of the eye, the Bronco Sport is predicted to outsell its bigger sibling because of it being extra approachable, but succesful, in addition to its comfort and lower cost.
“We expect Bronco Sport is going to be higher volume than Bronco,” Brinley mentioned. “It’s more affordable and it meets the needs of more people. The capability of the Bronco Sport is more in line with what people need on a given day.”
The new 2021 Bronco household of SUVs embrace the Bronco two-door, Bronco four-door and Bronco Sport (left to proper).
Ford executives have mentioned the corporate can produce greater than 200,000 autos a 12 months on the meeting plant in Michigan the place the Bronco shall be constructed alongside the Ford Ranger. The firm has declined to debate projected gross sales or capability for the Bronco Sport, which is being produced in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
The Bronco Sport options the styling of the bigger Bronco SUV, normal 4×4 functionality and a variety of fashions – from a typical mannequin for underneath $27,000 to a top-tier “Badlands” mannequin, which Young drove within the rally, beginning at about $33,000. That pricing compares with the Bronco’s vary of $28,500 to $50,000. Pricing for each autos exclude a restricted first-edition mannequin.
“Especially getting started in off-roading, it’s a great entry point for anyone who looks to do that,” Young mentioned, including the Bronco Sport has off-road applied sciences to help novice drivers and the general functionality to fulfill extra skilled off-roaders.
The Bronco Sport, or “Baby Bronco,” marks the primary time Ford has used the Bronco title for the reason that authentic automobile was discontinued after 31 years in 1996. It’s additionally the primary Bronco mannequin to solely are available 4 doorways (the 2021 Bronco is out there in two- and four-door fashions).
Having a extra obtainable, entry-level mannequin is just like Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep model, which is the chief in off-road automobile gross sales and Ford’s primary rival for the Bronco lineup.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
“We do see Bronco Sport as almost like an entry point into the Bronco family,” Young mentioned.
The Bronco Sport is Ford’s first direct rival to Jeep for the reason that authentic Bronco. The firm’s closest competitor since then has been a full-size, off-road model of the F-150 pickup known as the Raptor, however Jeep doesn’t provide such a automobile.
Ford is presently the highest cross-shopped model to Jeep, in line with Lisa Drake, Ford’s chief working officer for North America.
“It’s a huge addressable market for us,” she mentioned final week throughout a Credit Suisse convention. “And as the number one cross-shopped brand for Jeep, we think we’re in a strong position to aggressively pick up some share. So, very excited about this.”
Bronco Sport gives a slide-out working desk, a part of the obtainable five-way configurable cargo administration system, in addition to a 400-watt inverter and liftgate floodlamps that illuminate as much as 129 sq. ft.