Jeep Dealers' Wrangler vs Bronco 'Fact Sheet' Confirms Ford Is Making Them Pretty Nervous
Jeep seems uneasy to have a new competitor in its segment.
The Jeep Wrangler is the quintessential offroad vehicle. It's the staple of the segment, its sales are consistent and strong, and there's a solid community based around the vehicle. But there's a new kid on the block—the 2021 Bronco is bound to be a hit and certain to chip away at the Wrangler's hegemony. We knew this had Jeep worried, however, thanks to some dealer-issued documents posted to the Bronco6G forums, we know how exactly how worried Jeep is.
The document/infographic, titled "BRONCO: THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY" spends the entirety of its four pages picking apart features of the Bronco that Jeep claims are inferior to those found on the Wrangler. A lot of the points the Auburn Hills-based automaker makes are nitpicky—the Bronco was definitely benchmarked against the Wrangler, after all—however some may be enough to swing the right buyer one way or the other.
The first page is pretty straightforward, listing some features of the Bronco in a somewhat-negative light, being quick to point out that the Bronco Sport is based on the Escape crossover, and the Bronco itself is based on the Ranger pickup platform. Both of those things are true, but it doesn't necessarily take away from either vehicles' offroad capability.
As far as praise for its own Wrangler goes, Jeep has that coming in pretty thick, as is to be expected. It focuses on the heritage of the Jeep brand, going back as far as the original flat-fender Jeeps from WWII. Jeep definitely has the Bronco beat as far as heritage goes, but how legitimate that point is in the context of selling cars is certainly debatable.
The second of this page gets into some details of the trucks' respective offroad capabilities. Jeep also touches on the strong community around its vehicle while trying to make enthusiasm for the Bronco seem artificial, saying that Ford hired a marketing company to create excitement around the new "Bronco Nation."
Then, the details of both respective vehicles' front axles are compared. Ford's truck has independent front suspension, which Jeep claims is inferior off-road. That isn't necessarily an unfair statement. Solid front axles are simpler, more durable and less prone to trail damage. Jeep is also correct in saying that they are easier to modify. However, the other statements concerning articulation and differential ground clearance are questionable. Solid front axles can move up and down quite a bit, but it can certainly be argued that independent suspension offers superior articulation.
The statement about differential ground clearance is also a bit of a half-truth. Vehicles with a solid front axle can only gain ground clearance via the installation of bigger tires and or portal axles (and the latter is pretty uncommon). Vehicles with independent front suspension can be modified to have the centerline of the wheels be well below the centerline of the differential. This allows for a great amount of differential clearance.
The third page has several nitpicky details, like how the Jeep's folding top is power, or how Jeep's diesel V6 makes 10% more torque than Ford's gasoline-fueled option. The bit about the limited-slip differential is true, however, it neglects to mention the Bronco's available locking differentials or brake-actuated quasi-LSD capabilities. The whole mirrors on the doors vs body debate is also a matter of conjecture, and probably the most heated controversy that side-view mirrors have ever been involved in.
The bit about the crawler gear ratios is legitimate, but also extremely nitpicky. As are the number of accessory choices. The Bronco has yet to be sold to the public but it has over 200 accessory options already. That's impressive, and that number will definitely increase as people actually start receiving deliveries of the truck. Everything else on this page is also pretty conjectural, besides the Jeep Wave program. That's something Ford could probably counter, however.
As far as the final page goes, Jeep makes a good point in offering their Wrangler plug-in hybrid. It's suspected Ford has a hybrid Bronco on the way as well, however, there has been no official word from the Dearborn automaker. As far as nearly everything else on the page goes—almost all of this stuff is the result of the Bronco not actually being sold yet. They mention the Rubicon 392 concept, saying there is no V8-powered Bronco, however, you also cannot buy a 392 Rubicon right now. Several other awards that the Jeep has received are also listed, but again, the Bronco will challenge the Jeep for all of these once it actually hits the streets.
Overall, Jeep makes some pretty good arguments and some pretty questionable ones. The brand is going to have to play every angle possible to try and keep its market share, so it's no surprise it's sending documents like this one to dealers. Whether or not this sheet will be enough to sway a buyer one way or the other, we have yet to see.
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