2020 VISION

CLASSIC AMERICAN MODELS SET TO RETURN.

WORDS MATT RAUDONIKIS

THERE wasn’t a lot of new stuff at the Detroit Auto Show for 4x4 enthusiasts this year, except confirmation from both Jeep and Ford that it will both be re-introducing some iconic 4x4 nameplates towards the end of the decade.

Jeep boss Sergio Marchionne confirmed that a Jeep pick-up will be added to the JL Wrangler line-up in 2018, while in 2020 the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer monikers will again see the light of day.

“The expansion of our Jeep line-up has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy,” Marchionne said. “Our commitment to internationalise the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the US which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints.”

The comment about internationalising the Jeep brand is encouraging for Australians waiting for the Wagoneer, as previous reports had stated it would not be made in right-hand drive (RHD). However, a Jeep spokesperson couldn’t confirm if RHD was on the table or if and when the new three-row seating models would come to Australia.

The Grand Wagoneer is being pushed as a luxurious Ranger Rover competitor and as such could be priced in excess of $100,000. Both it and the more affordable Wagoneer will be built on a body-on-frame chassis shared with the next-generation Ram 1500 pick-up.

Over at the Blue Oval office, Ford confirmed the Bronco and Ranger will be hitting the US in 2020 and will ride on the next generation of the T6 platform that underpins our Ranger ute and Everest wagon.

“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear.

They want a new generation of vehicles that are incredibly capable yet fun to drive,”

said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas.

“Ranger is for truck buyers who want an affordable, functional, rugged and manoeuvrable pick-up that’s ‘Built Ford Tough’. Bronco will be a no-compromise midsize 4x4 utility for thrillseekers who want to venture way beyond the city.”

This points to the Bronco being a proper 4x4, but if it is to ride on the T6 platform we’re tipping it will be more Toyota FJ Cruiser with IFS than dual live-axle Jeep Wrangler. No details have been released on the Bronco other than it will be a 2020 model made in the USA.

Rumours are suggesting it could be a five-door like the Everest and not stay true to its roots as a capable twodoor wagon. If that is the case there would be no direct place for the new Bronco to slot into Australian Ford dealers, where the Everest fills that role. However, on the other hand, a three-door Bronco off-roader would be a cool halo vehicle to cap Ford Australia’s growing stable of SUVs.