Ford to Add Four New SUVs Globally by 2020, Possibly Including Bronco
Company says new models are aimed at Millennials, baby boomers.
In a speech this morning at the Chicago auto show, Ford vice president of marketing, sales, and service Mark LaNeve announced that the automaker plans to launch four new global SUVs by 2020. The launch is intended to capitalize on the fact that Millennials, who tend to prefer SUVs to other types of cars, are maturing and beginning to start families, LaNeve said. Ford's research also shows that baby boomers -- generally accepted as the generation born between 1946 and 1964 -- grow older, those drivers also prefer SUVs and crossovers.
"As members of the 80-million-strong Millennial age group enter their prime child-rearing years, a leading indicator of more SUV sales, nearly 80 million aging baby boomers continue to prefer their SUVs," LaNeve said in a statement. "It's a demographic double whammy."
The announcement is hardly surprising given that most automakers are seeing crossovers and SUVs rise in popularity. Ford says its research reveals that many drivers prefer sitting higher in cars, and also "feel younger and more active" when they drive a crossover.
Ford has not yet said which vehicles will be part of the four-strong offensive, but notes they will be in segments the company doesn't currently inhabit. One possibility is a modern-day Bronco, a more off-road-ready SUV than its current Escape, Edge, and Explorer. It's unclear whether that model would be a body-on-frame design or a unibody. But during the most recent contract between Ford and the United Auto Workers union, reports emerged that Ford would start building both a Ranger pickup truck and a modern-day Bronco SUV in Michigan by 2018. The company showed a Ford Bronco concept in 2004 (pictured at top).
In addition, Ford will launch a new version of the Escape by 2018 and a new Explorer by 2019.
It's also possible that Ford would consider adding a subcompact crossover to join the burgeoning segment that includes the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. Overseas, Ford already sells the small EcoSport, and although Ford previously said otherwise, it's not impossible that an updated version of the model will eventually make it to the U.S. market.
Lincoln will also launch a new crossover. The most likely option is a luxurious three-row crossover model to fit between today's two-row MKX and the large, body-on-frame Navigator. That model could be based on Ford's next Explorer and, according to some reports, may revive the name Aviator. It could arrive by 2019.
Lincoln could also add a more coupe-like model, following the trend of stylish (if somewhat compromised in terms of interior space) models like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe; or a smaller, luxurious crossover that fits below the MKC.
Stay tuned to see how Ford will expand its offerings in the popular SUV/crossover segment over the next four years.