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Return of The Classics

Whether it’s a style of shoe or a gaming console, we all swear by classic models as if they could do no wrong. The phrase “they don’t make them like they used to” was uttered to me in my youth and I now find myself echoing the age-old words. Through fond memories, it seems we are programmed to look favorably upon old products while approaching new, and in theory better ones, with a sense of skepticism. So, with the return of the Bronco and Wagoneer, it will be interesting to see how much of the current market they can capture while tapping into the faithful audience who swore by the original models.

The Bronco may have gained national notoriety for its slow-speed chase, but its real achievement comes as an innovator for the SUV market. Originally created to be more of an off-road vehicle, the Bronco soon drove its way into the hearts of families across America, becoming a staple family SUV through the later parts of the 20th century. However, as with most things, we always want more. This led to the demise of the Bronco as it was slowly becoming too small of an SUV. Ford later released the Expedition model as its replacement, but with the resurgence of not only the small SUV market but the off-road community, now seems as good a time as any for it to make a big return.

The new model pays homage to the original utilizing some of its distinct features. Its boxy nature, horizontal grille, and circular headlights are the standouts, but vintage-inspired designs can be found throughout. Primarily, however, the Bronco is back to try and claim the title of off-road king. With its removable doors and endless add-ons for camping, it is designed for the wilderness rather than the city streets. Who is to say it cannot do both?

It is of course too early to say how the new Bronco will fare in the market, but if the pre-order numbers are anything to go by then Ford shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Having amassed 150,000 reservations in the first two weeks, Ford has declined to release an updated figure, although one must assume the number has grown substantially. With potential wait times of over 18 months to receive the new model, it could be a while before we start seeing these rolling around with regularity. Nevertheless, the consensus around our office at least is that the Bronco is here to stay and should even get the die-hard Wrangler fans looking over their shoulder.

Much like Bronco the Jeep Wagoneer arrived as a pioneer, paving the way for all luxury SUVs. Luxury was not the standard it is today, and Jeep introduced this idea in their Wagoneer models hoping to gather the more affluent audience. Luxury, of course, comes with a cost, and much like its original counterpart, the new model will set you back a pretty penny. The base model comes in at an estimated $60,000 which may raise some eyebrows, but we have very little information on the vehicle overall. That being said you must take into account that this is a Luxury SUV, so it is bound to have all the bells and whistles to account for this price tag. Unfortunately, the Wagoneer is a little behind the Bronco in both production and information, so beyond the teaser concepts that Jeep released, a lot of the info is hearsay. What we do know is that this model will offer large families the chance to be a part of the Jeep crew in the classiest of fashion, and that should be enough to get the ball rolling.

It is unlikely that the Wagoneer will reach the numbers of the Bronco, but then again it does not need to with a sticker price like that. I believe Jeep is gambling on the fact that there is enough interest in the somewhat niche market segment of large luxury SUVs to make it worthwhile; what happens remains to be seen.

Touching back on what I first mentioned, it is clear that both companies are hoping that reigniting the old model names is enough to tug on the heartstrings of their previous customers who will want to relive the “good ole’ days”. Throw in a little modernization and a whole heap of features and gadgets, and we have two new models of old classics to look forward to. We will be paying close attention to them both to see how they fare.