Ford's new Bronco may be ready to go toe-to-toe with the Jeep Wrangler in terms of capability, but the Blue Oval wants to make sure its dealer network is prepared for another key component of the 4x4's launch: accessory merchandizing.
To that end, Ford has cleaned house at its accessory distribution network, Automotive News reports (subscription required). The initiative reportedly came about as a result of less-than-stellar accessory availability during the launch of the Ford Ranger pickup. Ford wants to have more than 150 accessories available for the Bronco on day one, its dealer representatives said.
The Ranger launch was reportedly fouled by poor availability and delivery delays, which ultimately cost dealers money. Every set of all-weather floor mats or bed-mounted racks is almost pure profit.
Perhaps more important, factory off-road accessories have the potential to boost Ford's credibility as the company looks to carve out a niche for the Bronco in a market that currently favors the well-established Jeep Wrangler, which has both a robust factory parts catalog and a massive aftermarket following.
For evidence as to the strength of rival Jeep's accessory catalog, one need look no farther than the JPP (for Jeep Performance Parts) 20 edition of the Wrangler shown at this year's Chicago Auto Show, which comes across as little more than a relatively base-spec JL Unlimited at which Mopar threw every conceivable part just to see what would stick. Jeep plans to sell this package at retail for a limited time, likely to test the waters for future up-fitted models.
Chevrolet has taken this formula a step further with the Colorado ZR2 Bison, which is mechanically identical to the regular ZR2, but boasts accessories from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), which is one of the best-known players in the 4x4 aftermarket segment.