Why the 2021 Ford Bronco Has to Be a Win

Ford needs some victories. The new Bronco and Bronco Sport are expected to lead the way.

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Why the 2021 Ford Bronco Has to Be a Win © Why the 2021 Ford Bronco Has to Be a Win

Good morning and welcome back to Speed Lines, The Drive's daily roundup of what matters in the world of cars and transportation. Today we're talking about the new Ford Bronco (have you heard there's a new Bronco coming out?), dealers getting paycheck protection loans, and why you should watch out for all those new RV drivers this summer.

The New Ford Bronco Will Lead Us Into The Future

It's no secret that the Ford Motor Company needs some wins. Last year's launch of the Explorer was a production and quality disaster. It's struggled with a low stock price and generally negative views from Wall Street investors. The F-Series trucks have lost ground to Ram. Its 2019 profits were down 99 percent from the previous year. And no automaker is doing great during the pandemic.

One answer to this is the new F-150. The other is the new 2021 Ford Bronco. That's been teased out on the car blogs seemingly for the past 500 years now, but it's finally set to debut on Monday. It, along with its smaller, soft-roader crossover brother the Bronco Sport, will tap into Boomer and Millennial nostalgia and the all-important SUV market. It's a huge deal for Ford.

As this Detroit News story notes, it's another example of Ford leaning heavily into its heritage, something that has worked well with the Mustang and the trucks. As you probably know, old-school Broncos have been the rich hipster vehicle of choice for years, so it needs that energy around the new one:

It's also meant to give the Jeep Wrangler a much-needed black eye. Save for maybe the Toyota 4Runner, which is much bigger, the Wrangler doesn't have much in the way of direct competition despite its extreme popularity.

And while the Bronco itself is a pretty conventional vehicle, there is a possibility of electrification down the line, says Dave Pericak, director of enterprise product line management for Ford's Icons division:

See more Bronco news here on The Drive on Monday, or sooner if it leaks out. 

Dealers Took At Least $7.6 Billion In PPP Loans

All kinds of businesses took federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep workers afloat when the pandemic hit, including—let's be honest—some well-heeled publicly traded companies that really didn't deserve it. But car dealers, whose industry has been absolutely hammered this year, also took loans while salespeople, mechanics and support staff were forced to deal with furloughs and layoffs. 

How many dealers took PPP loans? Almost three-fourths of all of them in the U.S., according to Automotive News. Though exact figures are hard to determine, here's how that stacked up:

And he's right. Though many people don't have love for dealers or the dealership experience, it's an arguably better use of job-saving taxpayer funds than, I don't know, Ruth's Chris Steak House. 

Watch Out For Rookie RV Drivers

Finally, a fun bookend to yesterday's item about the booming RV industry this summer: people are new to driving these big things, and they are often very bad at doing so. The trend is bad enough to necessitate a story in the Wall Street Journal:

PSA: if you see one of these on the road right now, maybe give it some extra space. Just in case.  

On Our Radar

Daimler to deepen cost cuts after expected quarterly loss (Reuters)

Why the Cars of Our Self-Driving Future Will Be Electric (Bloomberg)

Drivers Are Hitting Protesters as Memes of Car Attacks Spread (NY Times)

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The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay (The Atlantic)

Nuclear ‘Power Balls’ May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past (Wired)

Inside the Ad Boycott That Has Facebook on the Defensive (Politico)

Your Turn

Do you think the new Bronco will be the sales success Ford needs it to be?

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