DETROIT, MI – Throwback vehicles can be a boon for automakers. When cars such as the Dodge Challenger go away for years and then return to produce double-digit sales increases, one sometimes wonders, why did this iconic model ever go away in the first place?
Such a sentiment has even been expressed by fans of the Ford Ranger pickup truck, which actually is still being produced and sold abroad but has not seen an update stateside in about five years.
Luckily, this has been a good week for nostalgic car and truck lovers who ache for vehicles both long gone, such as the Plymouth Barracuda, and the ones that only recently disappeared from U.S. soil, such as the Ranger and the Ford Bronco.
On Tuesday, The Detroit News reported that Ford Motor Co. could fill empty production at a Michigan plant with that of its Ranger pickup truck.
The News reports that the Dearborn automaker has entered contract negotiations with the UAW to bring production of the midsize pickup to Wayne’s Michigan Assembly in 2018.
It would replace the lost production of the C-Max and Focus cars, which Ford has already announced will start being built outside the U.S. in 2018.
The Ford Ranger is sold in about 180 markets around the world, but the U.S. and Canada are not among them. The last Ford Ranger built for North America rolled of an assembly line in St. Paul, Minn. at the end of 2011.
And not long after those plans were apparently leaked, Bloomberg reported the Dearborn automaker is also considering reviving the Bronco SUV, and producing it at that same Michigan site. It would be a mid-sized SUV akin to the Explorer, Bloomberg reports, citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the company’s plans.
Ford produced the Bronco from 1966 to 1996. The popular SUV spanned five generations, including a smaller Bronco II from 1983 to 1990 and a full-size Bronco from 1978 to 1996. The full-size Bronco was succeeded by the Ford Expedition, the Bronco II by the Ford Explorer.
Ford showed off a Bronco concept (seen above) at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The concept appeared to have some design homages to the original, first-generation Bronco.
‘Cuda, Wagoneer and new Charger
At a closed meeting for Fiat Chrysler dealers in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the automaker reportedly rolled out several new products in the pipeline.
Among the most exciting, according to a report in Automotive News, are a Dodge (nae Plymouth) Barracuda convertible and a next-generation Dodge Charger. The next-gen Charger reportedly looks similar to this concept revealed in 1999 (also seen in the gallery above).
A new Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV, a model gone since the early 1990s, was also among the vehicles shown. The new Wagoneer will reportedly be an 8-seat, luxury SUV.
Wagoneer models of yester-year can be seen in the photo gallery above, in addition to the Jeep Chief concept revealed last spring. Since no media was allowed in the Las Vegas meeting, these may give us some clues as to what the new Grand Wagoneer could look like.
The Chief concept takes some noticeable styling cues from the Wagoneers of years past.
Outside of that dealer meeting it’s still a mystery what the new Barracuda will look like, but for now we can bask in the retro beauty of this 1971 ‘Cuda: