Ford Bringing Back Bronco, Ranger

It's official: The Ford Bronco SUV and the Ranger pickup are set to return to United States showrooms.

"We've heard our customers loud and clear".

Yesterday's big news out of the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was all about Ford trucks.

According to Ford, the Ranger, which is now available in certain global markets, will return to the U.S. in 2019. He went on to explain that the new Bronco will be a midsized SUV designed for off-road excellence and, as we knew before, the 2020 Bronco will be built alongside the new unibody Ranger at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Detroit.

"It can't happen soon enough". Unfortunately, consumers who don't know any better may associate the vehicle with an infamous auto chase rather than for being one of the industry's coolest SUVs.

The success of the Chevrolet Colorado and Honda Ridgeline proved the midsize truck market is alive and well, and ripe for the taking.

Ford chief technical officer Raj Nair wouldn't be drawn on the Bronco's selection of powertrains, or whether it will be available in three-door or five-door forms. Americans purchased nearly 450,000 midsize pickups a year ago, a 25.5 percent gain over 2015.

Bringing back the Ranger is more a question of resuming production than starting something new. It now is converting plants in MI and IL to handle expanded truck demand. On Sunday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it plans to introduce a Jeep pickup, also expected to be a midsize truck, by 2020.

And while Ford wouldn't confirm these rumors about the Everest becoming the Bronco, the evidence stacks up.

They showed off the vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show.

In addition to the segment-first 10-speed automatic, the Ford F-150 is now the first full-size pickup truck to add automatic start/stop as standard equipment across all models and engines.

The last Ford Ranger built in the US was a fleet order for Orkin Pest Control, which had adopted the Ranger as a mainstay vehicle before shifting to the Tacoma. As F-150s increasingly become the go-to pickup for personal and family owners, Ford likely sees an opening for the Ranger in fleet sales and small commercial, industrial and municipal uses.

Shifting consumer preferences prompted the automaker to change its thinking.

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