All hail the king of SUVs, the Ford Bronco is returning, but will it regain his throne? If history is telling us anything about the auto market, it is to be extremely careful with nostalgic brand models. Remember the Plymouth Prowler, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, or the Chevy HH2? Each was brought into the market with extreme fanfare but failed due to compromised design, underpowered engines or poorly laid out interiors. Now entering (or should I say re-entering) the stage is the mighty Ford Bronco.
How will the Ford Bronco impact competitor sales?
If the new Bronco does not meet the seemingly high expectations of its namesake, then Ford could take a beating. If, however, the vehicle meets the expectations, then everyone else in the highly crowded CUV/SUV market is going to get to watch a unique coronation, and paying for it with reduces sales volume.
So what should you, the dealer, expect?
Here’s what I’m seeing: In 2015, the best-selling segment was the four door, non-luxury car –Camrys, Altimas, Malibus etc. – that placated the need for good gas mileage, low monthly payments, and good value. But in 2016, buying habits shifted dramatically. CUVs have successfully reintroduced the traditional sedan buyer to a higher platform that has a cost and feel similar to a four door car. That similarity which moves all the way to performance, has created a major split in the car market, moving buyers who were expected to buy sedans into the CUV and SUV markets.
As a result, Ford’s timing for a new SUV model could not be better, but buyers entering the market in the next few months may consider putting off their buying decision off until they can see the Bronco. The wait will put a potential brake on certain models sales that have been seeing strong growth.
Therein lies the problem: how do dealers get buyers to buy now? How do you motivate a buyer who is already seeing the value of a particular purchase option to not wait? You have to communicate value consistently. That means interaction, engagement and constant reminders that show the value of making a decision today.
So, is the king going to find the throne an ill fit? Only time will tell.