Ford Is Wrong To Offer 2021 On North American Market Only And Here Is Why
The globalisation is no longer just a concept, it is reality. We are living in a world where information are instantly accessible no matter where you are. Products and services are available globally, and companies are selling goods to customers living in the furthest parts of the globe. Even though we all enjoy the same smartphones, same sneakers, and Coca-Cola is recognizable in any language, car companies are somewhat reluctant to accept the idea of a global car.
The reason is simple, differences in standard of living, average income, fuel prices, geography, urban landscape, and lifestyles between the regions means that different countries have different views of what the car should be. For example, what is an economy hatchback with a small displacement engine in Europe or America is a dream car for third world countries. The full-size SUVs like Ford Explorer, Lincoln Navigator, or Chevrolet Tahoe are entirely irrelevant on the European market but sell well in America and in the Middle East. Not to mention the Chinese manufacturers who rarely sell any cars outside of domestic and Asian markets.
Over the years, numerous car companies tried to design a global car, but most failed. Simply, the differences were too significant to successfully sell the same product in Africa, America, and Australia. Of course, Volkswagen Beetle's example or, more recently, Ford Focus Mk1, showed that one model could be loved globally. Still, it has to be competitively priced with trim packages, engines, and equipment that should reflect a specific market's needs. Companies like Toyota or Honda, which successfully sell cars like Corolla or Civic on almost every market in the world, have a different approach. Only the name is the same, but the vehicles are entirely different depending on the market. Not just in basic design but also in mechanics, engines, and prices. Apparently, when you are selling economy cars and shooting for volume, this is the only way to go. However, if you are selling a lifestyle or specific models, you don't need to adjust your cars to local markets. The Porsche 911 is Porsche 911 wherever you go, and customers don't want it any other way.
All of that brings us to Ford's official stand that the 2021 Bronco will be offered only on North American (USA and Canada) and selected Middle East markets, with Mexico getting just the Bronco Sport (at the moment) and in fewer trim levels. We are sure that Ford calculated that the popularity of the 2021 Bronco family is the biggest in the domestic market, but we are also convinced that Ford might be very wrong about this one, and here is why.
Ford's global operations, mainly Ford Europe and Ford Australia, have significantly different model lineups than the Ford North America. In Europe, Ford sells small front-wheel-drive cars and SUVs like Kuga, EcoSport, Puma, or minivans like S-Max or Galaxy, most of them with small displacement diesel engines. In Australia, Ford has a model range similar to European but includes Everest, a unique SUV sold only in Asia/Oceania, and Escape, which is also a North American model.
However, Ford offers Mustang and Ranger, and even Explorer (on selected European markets), which are identical to those sold in America. Those global models have met with worldwide recognition and sell well regardless of the country or continent. For example, the Ford Mustang is the best-selling model in its segment in Europe. Chinese customers are crazy about the V8 muscle car even though they don't know anything about its history or heritage. In fact, if we look at percentages, Ford is selling more V8-powered Mustangs in Europe or Asia (in right-hand-drive specs) than it does back home. Mustang is a high-priced sports coupe, a lifestyle model, and a statement of wealth in those markets.
The Ranger is another example, and for years, Ford didn't have a mid-size truck in the domestic lineup. However, Ford Australia had one and sold it successfully in Asia. Today, Ranger is amongst the most popular pickups in Europe and Asia and is offered with powerful and fuel-efficient four-cylinder diesel.
So, it is evident that millions of customers worldwide know and love characteristic Ford products and legendary nameplates like the Mustang. Knowing all of that and the fact that Bronco Sport is based on Ford C2 platform which underpins Ford Kuga and Escape, it is clear that Ford's decision to keep the 2021 Bronco out of Europe or Asia is absolutely wrong. First, Europe is flooded with urban pseudo-SUVs, just like the rest of the world. The number of real off-road vehicles is small, and customers looking for real all-terrain heroes don't have much choice. The specific of the European market is that most of the customers prefer the diesel engines, and Ford's local operation has a lineup of modern and dependable 2.0-liter units with 180 or 213 hp but more importantly, 310 or 370 lb-ft of torque. This means that Ford's EcoBlue diesel engine range directly matches the 2.3-liter EcoBoost's torque figures ensuring similar performance and usability.
Since the technology is already there, compliant with Europe's and global standards, and we know that Europe is home to over 700 million people and that the legendary US nameplates have a strong following there, Ford's decision to concentrate the North American market (mostly) is entirely unreasonable. Selling the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport globally requires just a little effort in homologating the vehicles for markets abroad. Still, it could return in enormous profit, significantly increased market share and global popularity. The worldwide success of the Mustang should show the way to Ford's managers and prove to them that iconic models have a global appeal. The 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport are so good that they shouldn't be limited to selected markets. Quite the contrary, Ford should sell them on every market they can, with diesel engines if required, and let off-road fans everywhere enjoy this unique combination of off-road capability, cool retro looks, and unique stance. Yes, the new Bronco is at home at Grand Canyon, but it would be equally enthusiastically accepted in the Swiss Alps, jungles of Central Asia, or Australian outback desert.