Ford has officially confirmed it won’t be making several key North American models available in right-hand-drive with the most prominent being the Bronco.
A smash hit sales success in North America since being revived last year, the retro-styled Bronco has been rumoured on numerous occasions as heading for right-hand-drive given that it rides on the same T6 platform as the outgoing Ranger and Everest.
According to Australia’s carsguide.com.au though, Ford Australia President and CEO Andrew Birkic said sales in major right hooking markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the UK and South Africa are not worth the extra investment to commission a right-hand-drive Bronco as the offset would be too little.
“As a Ford employee, we think it’s an amazing product. We are really proud… it’s an amazing body of work and we’re incredibly proud. But the vehicle isn’t built for right-hand-drive and that’s where it’s at. We’re always looking at what the (Ford global portfolio has to offer). That’s part of the course, that’s our role. But there is no right-hand drive for that vehicle,” he said.
His comments comes after the Blue Oval’s Managing Director for South Africa, Neale Hill, expressed a similar remark two years ago when asked about the probability of the Bronco being offered on local shores.
“Naturally there is always interested products like that. If we could get them, we would certainly explore them, but the way the Bronco programme has been set-up right now is that it is a left-hand-drive product aimed at the North American market for now,” Hill said.
In a subsequent confirmation of Birkic’s comments, Ford’s International Market Group Corporate Communications Director Sinead Phipps said speculation surrounding a right-hand-drive Bronco had accompanied it ever since the wraps were lifted last year, adding that such a model simply makes no sense from a financial standpoint.
“You have to be able to make money out of it. You have to have enough customers ready to buy it. And, I agree, it’s a fabulous product. But it just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
At the same time, the Australian online publication also confirmed that the Bronco Sport, which rides on the same C2 platform as the Focus, won’t be offered with right-hand-drive either.
The incoming Maverick, which is currently undergoing testing and has been tipped as the spiritual replacement for the Bantam, also won’t be coming to market as no plans are in place to offer it with the steering wheel on the right as well.