Reasons Why Ford Discontinued The Bronco [Did OJ Influence The Decision]

Last Updated on February 13, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

Ford did not discontinue the Bronco because of O.J Simpson despite the common opinion. It was in the mid-1990s, and most people wanted something bigger than a two-door, two-row SUV. Because Bronco sales were declining, Ford introduced the Expedition to meet the demand. The Bronco got dropped from the lineup in 1996.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many reasons that made Ford discontinues the production of the Bronco but the main reason was stiff competition from SUVs
  • With the introduction of large vehicles, the preference of the customers also change to more larger and luxurious SUVs
  • The production cost of the Ford Bronco was very high so Ford had to sell this vehicle at a higher price compared to its competitors
  • In the late 1990s, the demand for trucks was increasing rapidly in the US market, so Ford shifted its focus from SUVs to trucks

Reasons Why The Ford Bronco Stood The Test Of Time For Decades

Why The Ford Bronco Stood The Test Of Time For Decades

The Bronco was first debuted in 1966 to compete with the Jeep CJ, and it came in three different body designs: a three-door wagon car, a roadster, and a half-cab. The half-cab and roadster didn’t cut, so they were phased out after a few years. However, the wagon body style proved to be the most popular, with Ford selling 24,000 units in its first year.

In comparison to military vehicles, such as the company’s M-51, the Bronco’s purpose was to provide a superior balance of on- and off-road capabilities, as well as a more civilized ride (aka military utility vehicle or Mutt). 

Indeed, the new Bronco was “equally at home on rough mountain grades as on the run to the shopping center,” according to Ford’s promotional materials at the time. GOAT, an acronym for “Goes Over Any Terrain,” is the internal project name for this project.

“The market for utility vehicles [grew] from slightly more than 11,000 in 1960 to over 40,000 [in 1965],” according to Ford. SUVs now sell in the millions and have a larger market share than cars.

The Bronco saw numerous revisions over the years, including a general increase in size, suspension adjustments, and even a more fuel-efficient V6 alternative to appeal to customers who didn’t want a gas-guzzling V8. Because it was based on the F-100 platform, it was designed particularly for off-road use. 

However, due to America’s growing interest in SUVs, Ford replaced the Bronco’s front live axle suspension with an independent suspension during its third generation (1980-1986).

Broncos Of The Second Generation (1978-1979)

Ford introduced a significantly larger variant IN 1978 while it was still just two doors, to compete with full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Blazer and Dodge Ramcharger. The new Bronco was based on Ford’s F-Series pickup vehicle and came in two rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. 

The Bronco, like other versions of the time, had a removable fiberglass hardtop that covered the rear seat and cargo compartment. According to Ford, there was seating for up to six persons, with “a more car-like interior and more option choices.” 

There were two V8 engines available, and the wheelbase increased to 104 inches.

1980-1986: Third-Generation Bronco

The 1980 model year saw a new, smaller, and lighter design, but the full-size status remained the same. Along with the V8s, six-cylinder engines, and manual transmissions were still available. The redesigned Bronco is more aerodynamic, making it more fuel-efficient, which was a concern due to rising fuel prices. 

The Bronco also received more modern features, such as independent front suspension, making the ride more comfortable.

The Ford Bronco II 

Ford released the Bronco II, a smaller version of the Bronco, in 1984 in response to rising demand for fuel efficiency and smaller vehicles. Ford built it on the Ranger’s platform, yet there were many safety concerns because the truck would roll over for no apparent reason to give you an idea of its enormity. 

They blamed the weight of the vehicle for the rollovers, and the court put Ford under pressure to settle 334 cases and payout over $113 million as a result. The Bronco II was, of course, discontinued in 1990 after only six years on the market.

Bronco II Consumer Reports In 1984

The new Bronco II and other smaller SUVs signaled the start of a new era: a new breed of sports/utility wagons that combined the benefits of large four-wheel-drive vehicles with many of the benefits of traditional station wagons.

The Eddie Bauer version, which incorporated twin captain’s seats, a tilt steering wheel, and more storage cubbies, was evaluated. According to the study, the V6 engine “started and operated beautifully” and was mated to a three-speed automatic transmission that “shifted quite smoothly.”

The ride deteriorated significantly on secondary routes. The ride was exhausting at best and physically damaging at worst.”

The Ford Bronco Update

When Ford tried to freshen up the F-Series range, the Bronco received various changes during its fourth generation, from 1987 to 1991. 

These included electronic fuel injection and rear anti-lock brakes. Other special-edition Bronco trims were available at the time, including an Eddie Bauer version with a two-tone paint job, cloth seats, and wood trim, and a Nite edition with Raven black exteriors and red, blue, or gray interiors. Collectors are currently interested in these alternate trims.

The Bronco’s Last Generation And The Unexpected Prominence

Ford Broncos Last Generation

There was a modification of Ford Bronco again in its fifth generation, beginning in 1992, with new safety features like front and rear crumple zones, three-point seat belts, and a driver’s side airbag. 

This version of Bronco was meant to be a hardtop convertible as well, and it did come with a removable top, but due to safety rules, Ford was unable to offer it as such. They also erased any references to the top part being removable from the owner’s handbook and secured it with special bolts, although you could remove it with the right tool.

That was Bronco’s final revision until 2021. This model included more current features like a driver’s side airbag. 

Ford recognized that the market was moving away from massive, two-door SUVs and thus introduced the wildly popular four-door Explorer, followed by the even larger Expedition and Excursion.

Ford Bronco And Bronco Sport New Models

In 2021, Ford revived the famous “Bronco” nameplate in an attempt to compete with the Jeep Wrangler, a highly successful, off-road-focused SUV with legions of admirers and a thriving aftermarket for customization and modification parts. The Bronco squarely attacked the Jeep Wrangler with two- and four-door variants.

Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available on both the Bronco and Bronco Sport, allowing drivers to access their phone’s contents while driving safely. These features are available as a wireless option on the Bronco. 

Speech recognition technology is also available on the Bronco Sport, letting drivers interact with the vehicle without using their hands. An LCD touchscreen is standard on all Bronco vehicles.

In the 4-door models, both cars have ample space to accommodate five passengers comfortably. The Bronco has somewhat greater legroom in the first row, while the Bronco Sport has slightly more legroom in the second row.

Both the Bronco 2021 and the Bronco Sport have four-wheel drive, with the Bronco Sport having the option of a twin-clutch rear drive unit for added traction. The Bronco Sport features two exhaust pipes, whereas the Bronco had only one.

The Bronco Sport comes standard with 8-speed automatic transmission, with Ford’s SelectShift system with paddle shifters available as an option. Although the Bronco features an automatic transmission, it is just a 10-speed. The manufacturer offers a 7-speed manual transmission for a more hands-on experience with the Bronco.