Ford has delayed the reveal of the new Ford Bronco, pushing the hotly anticipated truck’s big unveiling back four days. The all-new 2021 Bronco will now be announced on July 13, a Ford spokesperson confirmed, after acknowledging some awkward timing of the originally planned date.
Ford had announced it would be showing off the new Bronco on July 9, bringing to an end 25 years of the nameplate’s absence on new trucks. Even then, that was a delay: COVID-19 had forced Ford to push the debut back a few months.
Now, though, we’ll have to wait until July 13, because of some unofficial associations between the Bronco name and a particularly memorable former occupant. “The previous targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday,” Mark Truby, VP of Communications for Ford, confirmed today on Twitter. “We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.”
Back on Friday, June 17, 1994, Simpson led law enforcement on a low-speed chase along the freeways of southern California. The white 1993 Bronco he was being driven in belonged to Al Cowlings, with Simpson reportedly holding a gun to his own head in the back seat as he demanded to be driven. It came five days after the murder of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson was named a suspect the following day.
The chase lasted for two hours, and saw around 95 million people watching it live on TV. Simpson was later acquitted of the charges.
For Ford – which insists that the date of the new Bronco’s reveal falling on Simpson’s birthday was a coincidence rather than an intentional poor-taste stunt – it’s an association that would probably rather be forgotten. The last Bronco was discontinued in 1996, two years after the chase, though it wasn’t particularly Simpson’s involvement which sealed its fate. Instead, it was already being overlooked by potential SUV buyers, Ford suggests, who wanted four doors rather than the Bronco’s two.
It was replaced by the Ford Explorer and Ford Expedition, vehicles which continue to this day. Strong demand for crossovers and trucks, however, have reopened a space for the Bronco in the line-up, as Ford refocuses some of its car budget on utility models instead.
The new 2021 Bronco is expected to have a chunky, rugged body, with removable doors and a removable roof. A Bronco Sport is expected to use the name on a smaller version. We’ll find out for certain in less than a month’s time.