If you have Bronco on the brain, you may find yourself buying one from a store that stands separate from your local Ford dealer.
A report in Automotive News says that some dealers plan to open standalone Bronco stores. The story further reports that the idea came from dealers, not the manufacturer. Ford did create renderings for how the stores look, at the dealers’ request, and will give those dealers who open a store a slightly larger allotment of Broncos.
Only about 100 dealers out of the approximately 3,300 Ford stores in the U.S. seem to be planning on building the Bronco stores so far. They will be mostly connected to existing dealerships or located nearby, and they will use the Bronco’s horse logo instead of the Ford blue oval.
It’s likely that other variants of the Bronco nameplate will be sold at these stores. That would mean the full-size Bronco and the already on-sale Bronco Sport compact in the near term, plus any further offshoots in the future.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Jeep is planning what AN says is “hundreds” of standalone showrooms of its own. This makes sense, as your author has heard via the industry grapevine that Jeep wants to position the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as a subbrand.
The Bronco stores will likely be 3,800 square-foot buildings with an outdoor fire pit, indoor wall for accessory, and enough space to display three vehicles. There will be black paneled siding, gray stone for the entrance, and wood accents on the exterior. Very outdoorsy.
At least one dealer, who is no doubt biased, seems excited. From AN: “It’s an announcement to the world we’re back; the Bronco is back,” Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Az., said. “It’s such an iconic product that in an absolute way, we feel a Ford dealer is really adding almost an additional franchise.” Hovik is also the chairman of Ford’s national dealer council.
Ford wants to make clear that it’s optional for a dealer to build one of these stores. Andrew Frick, Ford’s U.S. sales boss, told AN that Ford has three ways for dealers to put the spotlight on the highly anticipated off-roader. One is the separate store, of course. Another would be an expansion of the existing showroom. Finally, dealers could simply add displays to a showroom.
“So we have an option for pretty much any budget, and as we’ve repeated several times, it’s all strictly optional,” he told Automotive News.
That bit about the stores being optional is important. It’s almost an afterthought in the AN piece, but the story notes that Ford will NOT be requiring dealers to spend money on upgrading facilities in order to sell Broncos.
Instead, those who have the budget can choose to do so.
If you’re curious to see the renderings, browse over to AN, if you have a sub.