Ford Promises New Line of ‘More Authentic Off-Road’ SUVs As It Ditches Sedans In the U.S.

It looks like the rugged new Bronco will have plenty of company.

The iconic Ford sedan is dead, and with it more than half a century of American automotive heritage. But on the bright side, the company will be redirecting some of those resources into building a new lineup of “authentic” off-road SUVs designed with real capability in mind, according to Ford executive vice president James Farley.

In addition to a blizzard of obituaries for the company’s doomed cars, Ford’s first quarter earnings call this week produced this interesting nugget in response to a question about how it would fill the lineup (and sales) holes left by cutting the Fiesta, C-Maxx, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. A cynic might expect more things like the Ford EcoBean EcoSport, but Farley told analysts that more rugged SUVs are also a big part of the plan.

“There will be a variety, a growing variety, of [SUVs]. To give you a flavor, we’ll have more authentic off-roaders, building our Built Ford Tough background like Bronco and other new nameplates we don’t sell today.”

With its boxy design and iconic ancestry, the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco will be the first salvo in Ford’s self-proclaimed battle for off-road supremacy. The company has previously hinted at a smaller off-road SUV to slot below the Bronco, and Farley’s comments would seem to confirm those plans. And it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a larger truck as well—maybe a Raptor-lite version of the new Expedition?

Who are you, little Ford SUV?, Ford

Further proof the Bronco might have at least two equally-capable siblings are Ford’s recent trademark applications for the Maverick and Timberline nameplates, as highlighted by Car & Driver. The automaker used the Maverick name for its terrible compact car in the early 1970s, but it’s safe to say it will be attached to an SUV in the 21st century. And while Timberline also sounds a bit like a trim level, there’s no denying it’s designed to conjure up the outdoors. Plus, to borrow Farley’s words, they’re both “new nameplates we don’t sell today.”

Ford told Car & Driver that trademarks are a routine part of business and it won’t comment on the specifics of future products. But really, Farley’s told us everything we need to know: Ford’s not giving up on fun just yet.