Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated when the Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco are expected to be launched in North America.
Ford has hinted about plans to add four SUVs to its lineup, stoking Ford Bronco rumors; those rumors were all but confirmed late last week as Bill Johnson, chairman of UAW Local 900's Michigan Assembly bargaining unit, responded to Detroit Free Press questions about the automaker's continued investment in Michigan.
Hitting back at criticism from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has lashed out at Ford for planning to move Ford C-Max and Focus production from the Michigan Assembly plant to Mexico, Johnson said, "We hate to see the products go to Mexico, but with the Ranger and the Bronco coming to Michigan Assembly, that absolutely secures the future for our people a lot more than the Focus does," Johnson told the Free Press.
Contract negotiations between the UAW and Ford made waves in the press last year, with Ford's statements revealing that, as part of the agreement, a "new product" will be produced at the Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018. It's expected to be the Ranger, which will go up against the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado. Ford promised another model by 2020, with the latest comments by Johnson suggesting it will be a Bronco.
(Automotive News reported in August 2015 that the Ranger and Bronco would be made at Michigan Assembly after production of the Focus and C-Max moves to Mexico.)
While the Bronco -- shown in a rendering on a forum on Bronco6G above -- will have to be designed from the ground up, production of the Ranger in Michigan will be a more straightforward affair since Ford already offers a Ranger in a number of markets, including Australia and the U.K. Code-named T6, the current Ranger has been in production since 2011 and is likely to see a complete redesign around 2018; its replacement will likely be the model that enters production in Michigan.
If the Bronco launches in 2020, as scheduled, it may compete directly with an all-new Jeep Wrangler (scheduled for 2018), assuming Ford's new model picks up where the older compact Bronco left off. Alternately, a new Bronco may be a size or two larger, adopting the dimensions of the model that left in 1996 and using F-150 architecture and design as a departure point.
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