Steve Kissee with a Shelby GT 350 Mustang.
November 2018: Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Ford Motor Company recently announced a development that may just make the words of their founder ring true once again. Over the next year, they will be revealing two closed out models: the Ford Ranger and the Ford Bronco.
Steve Kissee, second-generation owner of Jack Kissee Ford in Claremore, has seen many trends come and go during the over four decades he’s been with the dealership, and he has rarely seen such anticipation from customers about any brand-new product, much less about the revival of a couple of classics. “People are really excited,” he says. “They’ve been calling the dealership and asking when we expect the new Rangers and Broncos.”
Kissee has two different answers to that question. He notes that the Ranger is scheduled to appear first (within the next few weeks) and will be a part of the 2019 model lineup. The Ranger will return with a fresh, sporty look and more cab room, torque, and towing capacity. Kissee expects the Ranger to be more popular in its new life than in its previous one. The Ranger was discontinued in 2011 as another long-term victim of the economic crisis of 2008—which is ironic since one of the draws of this smaller pickup is that it is an economical alternative to a larger truck. “A lot of people don’t feel they need a big truck like an F150 to just haul stuff around their house,” Kissee points out, “so I think people will like the Ranger’s size and fuel economy.”
The return of the Ford Bronco is creating an even bigger buzz than that of the Ranger. Even though the new Bronco won’t be available until the 2020 models arrive, Steve Kissee reports that Jack Kissee Ford is already receiving inquiries from excited customers. This is no surprise to Kissee, who remembers how popular the Bronco was throughout the thirty years (1966-1996) it was on the market. Ford’s reasons for stopping production over two decades ago have been much debated, but the Bronco has never been forgotten, and Kissee notes that “there are people who pay big money out there to get an old Bronco and fix it up.” The latest photos released show a powerful off-road style vehicle with a retro feel. Unlike the new Ford Ranger, which looks quite different from its predecessor, the Bronco is expected to bring a classic style that houses the latest technology.
The revival of the Bronco and the Ranger isn’t the only change to look for from Ford Motor Company. Kissee notes that the entire Ford lineup will be changing over the next two years. They will be retiring a few of their sedan models, including the Taurus and the Fiesta. These changes are all part of Ford’s move toward concentration on trucks and SUVs. They will, of course, continue with F150’s and SuperDuty trucks—which Kissee points out have been the best-selling trucks 43 years in a row—other popular SUV models like the Escape and the Explorer. Kissee anticipates that Ford will increase concentration on the EcoSport and other small SUVs.
And of course, Ford will continue its production of the ever-popular Mustang, a sports car that will ever hold a nostalgic place of honor with Steve Kissee. He started out with a Ford Mustang in the mid-1970’s, when his dad Jack found an old ’67 Mustang and fixed it up for Steve on the Jack Kissee Ford car lot. And even though Steve walks by a brand new Shelby Mustang GT in the showroom every day on his way into his office, he never forgets those days or the wheels that got him on the road in the first place.
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