With the reintroduction of the Ford Bronco nameplate not just as a continuation of an American off-roader’s legacy, but now expanding into a full lineup with a smaller “Baby Bronco” also on the way, I am very happy to report that Ford has reportedly gone out of its way to offer over 150 accessories covered under warranty.
If you’re going to go head to head with the Jeep Wrangler, there are a few things you need to get right. First, you need a moderately capable off-roader that, at the very least, won’t immediately kill every occupant inside merging onto the highway. Second, it needs to seem slightly too expensive for the sum of its parts, but well-priced for the experience it offers. Third, you need to let people think they are individuals.
Ford thinks it struggled to successfully capitalize on the accessory sales opportunities with the Ranger pickup, with initial inventories low and parts slow to ship when the truck launched. Ford isn’t looking to repeat its errors with the Bronco launch, according to Automotive News:
“At launch, we may not have had as many accessories as we would have wanted, but as Ranger has evolved, the accessories have caught up,” said Tim Hovik, a member of the Ford council and owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Ariz. “We feel like we’ve taken a step forward to modernize our distribution system to give the dealers more options and faster order fills so we’re more efficient with our customers and can deliver a better experience for them.”
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I won’t know if Ford has mastered the first or second part of that formula until the Bronco and the “Baby Bronco,” which will reportedly actually be called the “Bronco Sport,” it seems like Ford is planning to make sure the third part nailed down.
The automaker in recent months has replaced more than half of its regional accessories distributors, updated a website for dealers and promised faster parts shipments when the rugged utility arrives in early 2021. Officials plan to initially offer more than 150 Bronco accessories, all of which can be warrantied and financed through Ford Motor Credit Co.
Ford is anticipating first-year sales of up to 200,000 Bronco and Bronco Sport models sold in the first year they’re in production, according to the report. That’s going to hopefully mean a lot of accessories, which can be a big pull for profit for an automaker. An executive for Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur once told me their biggest money-maker by far comes from optioned exhaust upgrades for Porsche’s sports cars.
So Ford needs to be ready for all that Bronco demand:
A revamped Ford Accessory Distributor network comprising seven regional providers aims to facilitate quick-turn orders and prevent dealers from having to amass large inventories of parts. Ford also has partnered with Autodata Solutions to make selling accessories online easier.
“The company is way more engaged than it’s ever been in delivering accessories from the very beginning of launch,” John Crane, chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council and owner of Golf Mill Ford in Niles, Ill., told Automotive News. “We know how important it is to sell accessories to people. They spend thousands of dollars on their vehicle. We want to be ready from the get-go.”
It will be curious to see just how involved and impactful these optional accessories will actually be come production, as they could range anywhere from a standard tow hitch to some kind of custom alternate removable door and roof pieces that can change the design and function of the cars rather significantly. Hopefully there’s some cool stuff! What do you want on your Bronco?