As expected, buried deep inside the many pages of Ford’s proposed new contract with the UAW are discussions on what’s going to happen at the Michigan Assembly Plant after production of the C-Max and Focus are moved to Mexico after 2018. Not surprisingly, coinciding with that news, two nameplates that have long resonated with traditional Ford buyers are once again circulating the rumor mill: Bronco and Ranger.
It’s important to note that none of this information has yet been confirmed by Ford, and, when contacted, Ford Truck Communications Manager Mike Levine told us that – you guessed it – “Ford does not comment on speculation or future product plans.” But that’s certainly not going to stop anybody else from speculating. According to The Detroit Free Press, which quotes the always nebulous “person briefed on the agreement who was not authorized to speak publicly,” the Ranger is headed for production by 2020 in Michigan, followed shortly thereafter by a new Bronco. That timing makes sense – assuming the Focus and C-Max move out in 2018, it would take some time to switch gears at the plant from making compact cars to midsize pickup trucks and SUVs.
While a new Bronco and US availability of the Ranger will surely be welcome news to small truck and ‘ute fans, perhaps less welcome to the rank-and-file at Ford are future production plans that don’t include many next-gen cars (as opposed to trucks, crossovers and SUVs) built in America. In addition to the aforementioned compact cars, there’s no sign of the Ford Fusion or Taurus in any of Ford’s as-yet confirmed production plans, according to Automotive News. If those models are produced outside US borders, that would leave the Mustang and Lincoln Continental as the only cars Ford produces in the States. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.