The reception to Bronco 2021 — Ford’s flagship series of 4×4 vehicles that were revealed earlier this month — surpassed expectations of the company's most optimistic initial projections, CEO Jim Hackett said in an earnings call Thursday.
More than 150,000 customers have plunked down $100 to reserve a spot to order one of the vehicles, according to Ford.
"We think this family of vehicles has big upside potential in the growing off-road category and this is a category with a leading OEM has not been seriously challenged until now," Hackett said.
These are, of course, mere reservations, not actual orders. The deposits are refundable. Now, Ford is focused on the due diligence required to determine how many of these reservations will be converted to orders as it lay outs its manufacturing strategy for the brand.
The Ford Bronco 2 and Bronco 4 will be built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. The Bronco Sport will be assembled at a plant in Mexico. The company is now determining how many shifts to staff at each factory in order to match actual orders.
"There's still a lot of work to do," Ford COO Jim Farley said in a call with analysts Thursday. "But the mix is great."
The Bronco is a brand that leans heavily on nostalgia, customization, functional design and technology, such as the automaker’s next-generation infotainment system and a digital trail mapping feature that lets owners plan, record and share their experiences via an app.
While the response to the Bronco has been palatable, there are a number of competitors also aiming to win over customers. GM released a video this week teasing its all-electric GMC Hummer. While the video was a promotional mashup of buzzwords, it also showed that GM had clearly identified Ford Bronco and Tesla Cybertruck as its main competitors. Then there's electric upstart Rivian, which plans to start production of its EV pickup and SUV in 2021.