DETROIT – In the past 24 hours, the automotive world has buzzed the rebirth of the Ford Bronco.
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But the Bronco was actually a constant buzz for 24 years inside the glass house that made Monday night’s revelation a reality.
Ford stopped the Bronco not long after OJ Simpson’s infamous chase. Many inside Ford headquarters have cried and lobbied to try and bring her back.
Over and over, they asked to reinvent the Bronco, only to be rejected. Mark Grueber of the Ford SUV marketing team was at the center of it all.
“The leadership literally told us to stop using the word B,” said Grueber. “They didn’t want to listen to him anymore.”
Well, the “word B” is no longer verboten. On Monday, the new medium-sized, body-on-frame Bronco SUV came back to life.
Ford insiders who knew the history of the Bronco loved it and worked tirelessly for a generation to make it possible.
Bronco’s original nickname was the Goat – not because of the “greatest of all time”, but because Lee Iacocca he wanted a vehicle he could drive on any terrain.
He kept that code name for the serious underground operation that lasted for years.
“Working for lunch and after hours and weekends, trying to figure out what we need to do to bring this product back,” said Grueber.
By 2015, Ford had a dilemma: it was moving the Focus from the Wayne assembly plant to Mexico and started building the Ranger, but that only took half the plant’s capacity.
Grueber and his clandestine friends realized that the Bronco could ride on the Ranger platform and fill the plant.
“It was just amazing for me,” said Grueber. “But are you kidding? We knew the Ranger was the perfect base.
“I’m super proud of it and I hope you – the fans out there and all the Bronco lovers – feel the same and I hope they say, ‘Ford, you did well.'”
The Bronco blew up the Internet on Monday evening. Ford has run out of reservations for the limited version and customers have crashed into online servers. There is strong hope that pent-up demand will move many of the Broncos.
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