When Ford first announced that the Bronco Sport would be slotting below the full-size SUV, some fans were a little concerned. Ford tried a similar tactic a few decades back with the Bronco II, and it didn’t quite hit the mark. Furthermore, knowing that this small off-roader was to be built on the same platform as the Escape only heightened fears the Bronco name would be applied to a soft-edged crossover. We of course know that isn’t the case today, as the Baby Bronco arrived with styling that only solidified its off-roading intentions and DNA. According to a new report from Automotive News, we can all thank current Ford CEO Jim Farley for ensuring this was the case.
The report states that the Bronco Sport program was still struggling with its identity as late as 2017. The crossover featured a more athletic and sleek design at the time than it does now, mirroring the countless other jacked-up hatchbacks we see on the road today. This isn’t too dissimilar to what happened with the Bronco early on as well. Senior management at FoMoCo weren’t all that impressed with what they were seeing, which is about the time that Farley gets involved in the project. The current CEO tasked the design team with distilling their vision for the SUV into just two words. The words that were chosen were “honest” and “robust”, before the design process was opened up to other designers within the company.
The resulting “design blitz” brought Brian Paik into the fold, who noted that there was a big push internally to bring more Bronco DNA to the entry-level offering. The designer had worked on the full-size SUV, and brought the same upright design with short overhangs to the Bronco Sport. Paik’s design was ultimately the winner, and he would go on to become the Head Exterior Designer for the Bronco Sport.
Whether you are a huge fan of the Bronco Sport or not, it is hard to argue that it isn’t a handsome crossover. Much of the same DNA that went into the Bronco can be seen on the smaller take, which only helps to tie the new sub-brand together. This wasn’t the only time in recent history that Farley has helped to steer Ford’s design team, as his presence was also felt during the early days of the Mustang Mach-E. Not every CEO is as hands on as Farley, and that might just show through in the products.