GM Needs A Ford Bronco Sport Rival, Like Yesterday: Opinion51
The success of the Ford Bronco Sport after nearly a year on the market shows that GM needs to answer with a rival. For the time being, The General seems content on letting Ford and Jeep duke it out in the increasingly popular rugged compact crossover segment, but it shouldn’t be. We’re here to address exactly that in today’s GM Authority Opinion Desk.
In July 2020, Ford introduced the 2021 Bronco in two-door and four-door form. Off-road enthusiasts clamored for the body-on-frame vehicles, something that GM isn’t all too concerned about. The model that was noticed less, despite being introduced at the same time, was the Bronco Sport. Despite not featuring a ladder frame, the Bronco Sport has proven to be quite capable and, perhaps more importantly, also quite popular.
For instance, the Bronco Sport outsold Ford’s own “regular” C-segment crossover entry, the Escape, in September. Then, the Bronco trailed the Escape by only 4.2K deliveries in October, taking only nine days to turn. The results are in folks, and Ford clearly has a winning formula on its hands with the Bronco Sport.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is for those who desire a smaller vehicle that’s also bit less hardcore than the “regular”, midsize Bronco. Even so, Bronco Sport features standard all-wheel-drive, while also offering a segment-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature. Four underbody skid plates, available 28.5-inch all-terrain tires, and available tow hooks give the Bronco Sport additional capability.
The Bronco Sport’s interior is similar to that of the body-on-frame Bronco: it features a rugged aesthetic and offers available washable rubber flooring in the cabin and cargo area, easy-to-clean cloth seating surfaces, silicone-sealed control switches, plus a whole bunch of interior storage and item carrying solutions and accessories.
In creating the Bronco Sport, Ford essentially took a regular front-drive platform, gave it a boxy, rugged, and functional design, shortened it, and added some robust suspension bits. While the Bronco Sport is a unibody vehicle, it is extremely capable.
Moreover, by introducing the Bronco Sport, Ford is now fielding two entries in the C-crossover segment: the Bronco Sport for those interested in a capable and rugged product, and the Escape for those who value on-road behavior (or simply don’t care much about off-roading, as a whole).
For GM’s part, its unibody Chevy Trailblazer crossover offers an outdoorsy Trailblazer ACTIV trim that amplifies its sporty style with a two-tone roof, unique front and rear fascias, sport terrain tires, off-road suspension tuning enhancements, dual exhaust, and a simulated (non-functional) front skid plate. It’s a nice package, but it’s nothing close to the Bronco Sport in terms of off-road capability. So, GM has no viable B-segment competitor to the Bronco Sport.
Making matters worse is that GM also has no rugged C-segment crossover to rival the Bronco Sport. For instance, Chevy does not offer an Equinox ACTIV, which would have been more comparable with the Bronco Sport than the Trailblazer Activ.
But wait, GM’s GMC will soon launch the Terrain AT4. That comes closer to the Ford offering than the Equinox and Trailblazer, at present. Notable upgrades on the GMC Terrain AT4 include a unique front fascia, gloss black-painted wheels wrapped in off-road tires, and a steel protective front skid plate. The 2022 GMC Terrain AT4 will come exclusively with AWD, which makes sense for an off-road trim level. However, the Terrain AT4 still has rather long front and rear overhangs as a result of its more plebeian roots, as opposed to being purpose-built to be rugged.
For those who aren’t following, here’s the scoop: a vehicle with long overhangs typically won’t be as capable off-road compared to a vehicle with shorter overhangs. And generally speaking, vehicles that tend to have shorter overhangs were decidedly designed that way from the start, ala Bronco Sport, rather than being modified versions of existing models (like Terrain AT4).
With its onslaught of ACTIV and AT4 models, it is clear that GM understands that the market is continuing to shift in the direction off-road-capable vehicles, or at least ones appearing so. The Terrain AT4 satisfies the latter part, but not so much the former. That makes it clear that GM needs to bring to market a true rival to the Bronco Sport or else Ford (with the Bronco Sport) and Jeep (with Compass and Renegade) will have the market all to themselves.
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Well, they could give the Blazer some off-road capability to give the nameplate some of its heritage back.
But GM needs dedicated off-roaders, the AT4X and ZR2 aren’t the Raptor/TRX rivals we were expecting, and the General has nothing even similar to the Bronco and Wrangler, they need to come up with something.
They could make a 3-door version of the Yukon/Tahoe to compete with those vehicles, sure it will be larger (like the Challenger is to the Mustang and Camaro) but people will buy it and the required investment would be much less than developing a completely new direct rival using the Colorado platform.
I agree, read my post below yours … it’s what your wish list (an mine) can be based on. GM (like some others) is to worried about the soccer mom, starbucked, green new deal idiots. They’d do well to listen to what their past and loyal customers want … or they will see someone like Toyota or Nissan steal more of their customer base. What is my customer base … Landscape Professionals, the Chevy Astro’s 5,500 lb tow capacity on the cargo version built an maintained many landscape companies. For you off roaders, look at a 1972 Chevy Blazer and just imagine what you could do with it … many did. And the SWB Reg Cab Pickup, offroader, homeowner, hot rodder person, customizer,commercial/fleet purchaser … we all win.
Ford stock keeps going up and gm stock is the turd in the punch bowl. The gm iq is get subsidized by Joe to build cars years from now.
GM stock tripled since 2019. Ford’s stock recently spiked from just under 10 to 20 since the new CEO. True, Ford’s stock has made higher gains recently, but GM’s stock will continue to rise with the EV rollout.
For those to young to know … it was called Blazer. It was built on the short wheel based full size pickup platform that GM has abandoned. That platform also was used for the Chevy Astro another major mistake GM did when they dropped it. Let see three vehicles … Full Size Blazer … Chevy Astro … Short Box Reg Cab Pickup. Two of the three the Astro and Pickup would be in my driveway today if available. GM, get your head that’s stuck in the sand out and bring back vehicles people actually want, the three above would be great. The sales numbers have shown you’re selling Tahoe vrs Suburban close to 3 to one. Ditch the big “Burban” and bring back the 2 door Blazer, the Astro, and the Reg cab short box pickup … You literally only lose (maybe) one customer, but pickup 3 others. A 66% increase in business.
GM will drop the Corvette before killing the Suburban
You couldn’t have said it any better they need a two door K5 blazer again with a frame Under it a strong power plant none of this late model unibody constructed stuff they’re building now they’re only good for the road not off road
Jeff, they make vehicles that will sell. Every new product is a 5B investment. Then the product life cycle has to recover the investment and make a profit. Everyone’s ideas are always “cool”, but that doesn’t mean it’s wanted by the market enough to validate production. K5 Blazer is cool, but not cool enough to warrant production.
I understand where you’re coming from used to be in the car business but GM has been a little bit lax on performance cars and trucks beside the Corvette . They have let the other manufacturers walk on them quite a bit GM is too interested right now In electric vehicles which is OK but they’re trying to change it overnight which I think is wrong you won’t find a EV in my garage anytime soon
Yeah I get it Jeff, there are lots of different markets to enter and they choose which markets to enter based on their strategy, competencies, shareholder value etc. gm has planted their flag into transforming the company and becoming an EV company, not unlike Audi, MB, VW and so on.
They have made a huge investment into this transformation, which won’t pay dividends until the Bronco is mid way through it’s life cycle. By that time we will know if the investment paid off. I’m guessing it will.
The GM you grew up with is now gm. The legacy company is no longer and it’s change or die. Tesla is the most valuable car company in the world by a huge margin. Lower case gm got a second chance at life and they don’t want to blow it. So K5 Blazers aren’t happening.
I’m not sure 100k a year vehicle production by a competitor means gm is being walked on. But that’s just my opinion. The Hummer EV is gm’s Bronco with more profit per vehicle given its price.
As they scale, I’m sure a smaller Hummer EV is in the thought process. Ford will make money on the Bronco and use it to help fund their EV future. I could be wrong but gm is ahead of Ford in EV based on their future product launches. Does that answer your question?
Brad They will never drop the suburban line it sells too well and it’s the best in his class out there
Ford has hit a home run with their new Bronco. It stole the SEMA 2021 Show this week.
David Alan Murray
So far Broncos sales numbers have been anemic. (~3,300 a month) Considering the Bronco comes 2 and 4 door configurations, Ford would need to sell over 100,000 a year for the vehicle to be considered a success.
Lol Jesus Christ you really do say anything don’t you? The fact you let those words come out of your mouth that the bronco is not a success proves how much of an idiot you really are. There is a chip issue Peter in case you haven’t heard. The bronco is extremely popular and will only continue to gain in popularity as more hit the streets. Once the chip issue is back on track they will sell more then 100k broncos a year.
So what you’re saying is Ford used up all is chips building low end Eacapes, BroncoSports, EcoSports, Rangers and Mavericks. But no Chips for its new marquee Bronco SUV.
I just didn’t think the people at Ford were that stupid.
I think the bronco is a success and the bronco sport. Sure they have some hard top issues but they had what 240k preorders and what over 180k that converted to orders? Now the bronco raptor or warthog has been confirmed by both ford and ford authority dude it’s only going to get more popular. The design looks great it’s capabilities are great the price is good to. I’m a Jeep guy have been my whole life and I have wrangler now and I give props when props are due ford nailed it.
Watch the Bronco numbers rock after the SEMA Show. Stang numbers too. The SEMA attendees went crazy for Ford from what I could see. Ford appeals to the Let’s make America Great Again crowd. Ford did an A+ job at SEMA. GM was B.
What do you fellow SEMA attendees think of Ford vs GM displays and events at last week SEMA Show?
GM squandered brand loyalty by using the revered name Blazer, and putting it on the unibody crossover the way it did. GM is overly focused on electric vehicles that it will offer years in the future, and is abandoning the current marketplace.
This GM would do a bad Bronco Sport/Renegade copy as an easy token gesture. Or they’d shoot and miss with an actual Wrangler/Bronco competitor, with made to lose specs such as an un-liked powertrain and an it doesn’t matter convertible top at a stupid-high price. The question is not if they’re tone-deaf, it’s how tone-deaf they are.
GM….time to take gloves off …drop a 450 horsepower all aluminium LS motor in an off road vehicle and watch the sales grow. Adventure motorcycles are doing well…so time for the automotive world to follow. Maybe a Humvee model or something new. Hopefully not an electric vehicle…there ain’t a whole lot of charging stations in the bush. One option if GM decides to go electric is to have a generator on board to charge batteries. Ultimatelly a gas motor is the way to go.
Everyone’s an expert.
GM went down the wrong road after seeing this coming,. The Trailblazer should have been built to compete with Bronco Sport with the return of the Blazer to compete with Bronco. Simple
Blazer on a Colorado chassis with a full removable top or roof structure similar to the hummer absolutely needs to happen. A smaller trailblazer version or boxier version of the trailblazer to compliment its body on frame sibling could be nice as well.
They don’t need a Bronco Sport they need a line of vehicles like the Bronco and Wrangler.
The Bronco sport is just a crappy Escape C2 platform. They may initially fool people but these are not real off road vehicles. These are just FWD vehicles that they added AWD to.
The Blazer Acadia, etc are just larger version of this and are not off road vehicles. Adding a transverse V8 and another $15,000 is not going to fix the issue.
The truth is the Bronco and Wrangler are becoming this generations Camaro and Mustang. People are leaving the hi priced coupes and going to the lift off top easy to modify off road models.
GM needs to take the next gen Colorado ZR2 and build a 2 and 4 door odd road lift off top turbo 4 vehicle that can be had for $29-$45K.
The Beast while cool also will not fix the issue due to high cost and limited volumes.
The Bronco sport is nothing but a butch CUV much like the Acadia AT4 and nothing more.
There will be initial sales then they will level off into the obscurity of the other CUV models.
As for the Blazer name get over it. Was it a poor choice yes. Does it really matter in the big picture no. People do not buy vehicles just for the name they buy for content. GM may have squandered the name but not the model they have yet to build.
GM also needs to avoid the Bronco, Cutlass thing and not name everything Blazer. Ford has created confusion with slapping Bronco on everything much like Olds did with Cutlass.
Note slapping Cutlass did not fix the crappy FWD cars the name was on.
Well said, Ford is going with gimmicks to sell. Bronco sport is very gimmicky and lame. The bronco is revolutionary a bit but really who’s gonna buy for what it’s meant for and have had troubles with removable top which sounds like a disaster. On top of that you get to choose from a 2.3 and 2.7 liter engine. If your new to the segment wouldn’t you go for the wrangler. I mean unless your really gonna use it with your fishing polls on the hood and regularly hose out the cabin.
Rebody the Colorado platform (in addition, not as a replacement).
They already have an SUV based on the Colorado platform called the Trailblazer sold in Brazil and other similar markets. They could rework that with the upcoming Z71 and ZR2 underpinnings and a updated exterior and interior and make something that would be appealing to this crowd. But they don’t have production capacity at the Wentzville plant so it would need to be produced in Brazil and shipped here, as a 100,000 unit/year run would not justify a new plant.
The Terrain AT4, and a theoretical Equinox Z71, are still attractive to consumers and allow GM to compete with Subaru, Rav4 TRD and other similar variants which provide a more rugged look and improved traction on snow, gravel and roads to the cottage that they desire. GM is not going to invest in a suitable new platform, with improved overhangs etc, to go after the Bronco Sport at this point. Their development dollars are being pushed to electric options not short-lived niche segments. The flexibility of a electric platform would provide a better opportunity to compete in this space anyhow. I highly doubt the revived Hummer sub-brand will be a one vehicle venture.
Id honestly prefere the terrain AT4. Ford’s escape based bronco sport isn’t even in the same league. It’s along with the escape is the new Ford focus. Not what I would call an off road vehicle platform. The new maverick is ditto. I just test drove one and was unsatisfied and bought a traverse instead, and the traverse honestly handles better off road on my farm. This whole platform is too small, too flimsy. The terrain AT4 is built off the same platform as the larger traverse and Acadia and is way more solid. If I were GM, I wouldn’t worry, especially as the bronco sport comes factory with small, all season tires, and not much to for upgraded tires. The terrain AT4 has it beat on ground clearance and can accept even larger tires
The terrain at4 is based on the equinox, I think you’re thinking of the Acadia at4
Here’s what GM needs to do. The American spec trailblazer we have now should be renamed to the tracker, the blazer we have now should then be called the trailblazer, and my should start building the foreign market trailblazer in America. It’s based on the Colorado, runs on a duramax, and they could probably put the 2.7 t4 in it. That thing is basically a baby Tahoe.
Back in the 80s, big GM created the smaller S-10 Blaser with the 4.3 and 2.8 v6s, 4×4, 2 and 4 door versions with a spare tire rack on the folding down tailgate and with the rear tailgate window hatch that swung up. I remember my 86 Blaser 2 door 2 tone white/black 4×4 with 31″ tires on 15″ wheels and houndstooth interior was a blast. I compare this with todays Bronco…no way the Bronco out sells my 4×4.
In 95, big GM took the Blaser and made it better using the ZR2 truck platform and made it, not just a 4×4 off road, but a heavy duty off road 4×4. The ZR2 platform was wider and used lots of off road tech with 31″ BFGs that were capable of increasing tire size if you wanted. This would out sell the new Bronco.
Just add the 3.6 v6 or even 2.7 turbo would be very capable for a 4×4 the size of a knock off of todays ZR2/Bison Colorado/Sonoma with 2 or 4 door chassis. Add the rear spare tire on the back tailgate and a rear window that can be opened. The ZR2 offers soooo much for a Bronco, Jeep competitor in a Blaser skin. No way Bronco out sell this.
What are you waiting for little gm…
Let Ford have this one. They need the win. In fact things have gotten so bad at the Blue Oval that they partnered up with VW on cars, and are having Rivian build their next pickup.
What’s wrong with rivian? Rivian is better then anything gm is making ev wise lol.
Ford is mainly a pickup truck company. By buying Trucks from someone else Ford looses their reson for being.
Lest we forget, gm is a follower not a leader. Today the follower, gm, is focused on EVs where once again they are followers.
gm is not going to invest in a ICE Bronco fighter. They might go for an EV Bronco fighter by 2025. But the market will be small. For now gm is content to let Ford and Jeep duel for serious off roaders, who comprise a small market.
gm is terrible at evaluating what people want. Their loss of serious market share to RAM is a good example. It was years before gm recognized that RAM was delivering what buyers wanted, a better interior, a better ride and actually a good looking truck.
Hoping gm is right on the EV market the second time around. They gave the EV market to Tesla when they canceled the EV1 program. A second failure will bankrupt gm again.
Negative Rick, GM isn’t a follower, nor really a leader. Their mid pack. A revolutionary honestly compared to Toyota Corp and Honda, and a dinosaur next to Tesla. They are very conservative yes with the Chevy brand, but GM with Buick built the CUV sector, is pushing the limit with the corvette and camaro, and currently beating Ford in the truck sales war. May not be as bold as they used to be, but GM isn’t near as dull or unimaginative as Toyota, VW or even Nissan/Renault Corp.
The overseas Trailblazer would disappoint many here as it is really not targeted for the American market.
It really misses the segment of livestream vehicles. This is what Jeep Wrangler and Bronco tap into. They are not just another CUV or SUV they are a segment that lets people build their vehicle as they like. It also is a segment that a great number of females are also buying in. This is where the great volumes are coming from.
GM holds a great advantage if they enter this segment. For one they are not stuck trying to go retro. This is what hurts Jeep the most as while they try to improve the model they are stuck for better or worse the same look. Ford now is stuck with the old Bronco look.
GM could do a clean sheet and even two different looks with Chevy and GMC.
The overseas Trailblazer just would be expensive here and not much profit. It would cost nearly as much as a Tahoe to build but could never charge the same money for it.
GM is not out of the game here as while the regular CUV models are not SEMA exciting they are funding GM with good profits even in tough times. No it is not fun or sexy but they more than pay the bills.
The fake “bronco” nah they need a competitor for the real bronco and wrangler
They could use both.
This is just more proof that gm is run by a bunch of misdirected fools. Mother Mary needs to go.
Man you at right about that. She will be the demise of gm
I agree with this article. The Bronco Sport is what the Terrain should have become. As soon as I saw the Bronco Sport I knew it would be a home run and eventually outsell the Escape because of the Bronco Sport’s styling/off road ability and the Escapes horribly ugly front end. The Terrain got worse looking with its first MCE and then even worse with the change to the D2XX platform. The 2022 facelift starts to head back in the right direction for the Terrain, but the original was the best looking and most rugged looking, which I believe is the main reason it sold so well. Go back to styling similar to the original Terrain with Bronco Sport capability, not the current less rugged crossover look and ability.
I vote no on following Ford into every segment. Ford is great at building niche vehicles in North America but that’s now how you grow a company. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
Let’s be honest, even if GM did build a direct Bronco /Bronco Sport competitor, It’s not like people here would like it. I’m sure it would be picked apart and GM would be criticized for not having an original idea or some other dumb complaint.
I’d rather GM continue to double down on electric as it has been.
You mean people here on this website? I mean what does it matter what anyone here thinks about anything they make? How many people here are in the market for a new vehicle? How many people here will even be a new vehicle within 2 years? I’ll answer it for you do you don’t have to waste your time that answer is slim to none. If you think for one second the off-road segment is not important then I have nothing else to say to you except have a good weekend my friend.
Look GM needed this when they had Hummer out the first time. A smaller lower priced 4×4 that opens up would be a big seller.
My work focused on Camaro and Mustang for decades. Today it is all Jeep truck now Bronco,
Look even if they did a EV Hummer Jeep competitor that would be good too.
It matters little whst people here think it does matter what is selling on the market and the sales going to these vehicles with nothing offered for consideration.
Not EVERY vehicle has to be a direct response to something else. But face reality that GM doesn’t have anything exciting outside the very expensive fullsize SUVs, trucks are looking better and the Corvette. Traverse looks nice but needs a new interior or at least a center stack upgrade but they did the bare minimum for the MCE as they nearly always do.
GM is trying to sell boring appliances. The problem is they don’t have the reliability like the japanese and Koreans do, so why would people want them? Some people are fine with boring cars because they just want reliability and a-b. Other people want car with heart and sole, so they buy unreliable junk like Jeep/Dodge/etc.
Personally I think Ford is making a lot more exciting vehicles finally and are going to be more reliable than the garbage FCA/Stellantis or whoever is signing the checks this week.