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I remember back in the day I really hated the Bronco II as it just looked weird. I saw one recently and I am actually staring to appreciate it for what it was. The thing that confuses me is that I came across this article that stated the Bronco II outsold the Bronco by a wide margin back in the day. I thought the general consensus back then was that the big BKO was better/cooler. So why did the II outsell the big BKO? It wasn't the price and why did Ford kill the kill the II if it was outselling the big BKO? The only thing I can come up with is the F-150 was supporting it...

The Bronco II (1983)
In 1983, Ford joined General Motors and Jeep in the burgeoning compact SUV segment with the Bronco II. Offered only with two doors, the Bronco II shared its front-end design and most mechanical components with the original Ranger pickup. The tall, Land Rover-like side windows emphasized its status as a vehicle developed for both work and leisure.
Ford priced the Bronco II surprisingly close to its bigger sibling. It cost $11,507 in 1985 while the Bronco retailed for $11,993, figures that represent about $27,000 and $28,000, respectively, in 2020 money. The Bronco II outsold the Bronco by a wide margin. In 1985, Ford sold 98,253 examples of the smaller Bronco versus 52,316 units of the bigger model.
Bronco II production ended in 1990. Its replacement, the first-generation Explorer, became one of America’s best-selling SUVs during the 1990s.

 

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84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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They killed the b2 cause most see vehicles as nothing more that people movers, and a 4 door explorer is a better people mover....
Just like a 4 door expedition was a better people mover than a 2 door FSB
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Yep, they killed the B2 with the explorer.

I was a kid back in the B2 days. I thought they were pretty cool with the wrap over the top windows.

The FSB is/was a truck. The B2 was a compact SUV. Trucks were cool back then and more capable. But when built up, a B2 is a very good trail machine. Also, many people use those mini sized trucks and SUVs as ATVs and side by sides. Especially before the mule and gator opened that market.
 

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Had an 87 in high school (‘96-97). Had around 5” of total lift and 33” mud terrains. It broke down more times than I can recall, but I was your typical dumb high school kid. Did have some fun wheeling it. Got a courtesy $500 trade-in when I had to sell to get a more reliable vehicle for college. Good memories.
 

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84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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So the B2 I built for my wife years ago has been one of the most reliable things I’ve owned... 2.9, 5 speed, explorer axles with 4.88’s and lockers

 

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why did Ford kill the kill the II if it was outselling the big BKO?

"Its replacement, the first-generation Explorer, became one of America’s best-selling SUVs during the 1990s."
I'd say that answers your question pretty definitively. Market research... Ford of that era knew better than anyone what it takes to sell in high numbers: bland design. Cool cars sell in only small numbers to enthusiasts. The rest generally appreciate them, but don't actually want to own them. The masses want to blend in in their Taurus or Prius. The Explorer nailed the "fit in" appeal that the Bronco II lacked.

The Bronco II was selling about 100-120k per year. The Explorer sold 300-400k per year.


(The Bronco II was also plagued by stability concerns, as I recall.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd say that answers your question pretty definitively. Market research... Ford of that era knew better than anyone what it takes to sell in high numbers: bland design. Cool cars sell in only small numbers to enthusiasts. The rest generally appreciate them, but don't actually want to own them. The masses want to blend in in their Taurus or Prius. The Explorer nailed the "fit in" appeal that the Bronco II lacked.

The Bronco II was selling about 100-120k per year. The Explorer sold 300-400k per year.


(The Bronco II was also plagued by stability concerns, as I recall.)
I agree, but the B2 was outselling the FSB 2 to 1, thankfully the FSB lived on for a bit. Speaking of stability, I was under the impression that Firestone was the culprit to all those flipovers, I guess a lot of other people thought the same back in the day..


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Bronco II the most deadly SUV on the road.

The Ford Explorer grew directly out of the Bronco II. The Explorer was made for a family, but kept the rugged characteristics — and the stability problems — of the Bronco II. In fact, an internal Ford memo from May 1987 said that the stability of the UN46 — the Ford Explorer Prototype — was worse than the Bronco II, but could be improved by widening and lowering the vehicle.

Alarmed, Ford immediately sent its engineers to the company's Arizona proving grounds to put the Explorer prototype through the Consumer Reports tests. When the Explorer was put through the same tests, it repeatedly tipped up off the ground. Ford engineers scrambled to find a fix.

Ford tried a number of small fixes, such as tire pressure and suspension changes, but they were not enough. Ultimately, the Explorer suffered the same problem as the Bronco II and needed two more inches in width to achieve a safe level of stability.

Ford executives admitted that one of the reasons Ford refused to widen the vehicle was because it would lose money if it waited for the fix. Instead, the company again sold vehicles to the public that it knew would roll over.

The Explorer's inherent stability problems came to light in the mid-1990s when Explorers began to rollover after Firestone tire failures. In 2001, Firestone ended its 100 year relationship with Ford Motor Company. In a letter to Ford, Firestone's chairman, John T. Lampe said:

Today, I am informing you that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is ending its tire supply relationship with Ford Motor Company.
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Business relationships, like personal ones, are built upon trust and mutual respect. We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer supply tires to Ford since the basic foundation of our relationship has been seriously eroded. This is not a decision we make lightly after almost 100 years of history….
Our analysis suggests that there are significant safety issues with a substantial segment of Ford Explorers. We have made your staff aware of our concerns. They have steadfastly refused to acknowledge those issues.
In sworn testimony before Congress, Mr. Lampe said:

There is something wrong with the Ford Explorer. The testing and the accident data we have submitted prove it.
This isn't some plaintiff's lawyer saying this. This isn't some safety organization saying this. This isn't some consumer rights organization saying this. This is the head of Firestone acknowledging to Congress that its testing proves the Ford Explorer is defective.
 

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I agree, but the B2 was outselling the FSB 2 to 1...
There are two separate questions:

1) Why did the B2 outsell the FSB?

2) Why was the B2 discontinued if it was selling well?

I was only addressing #2. As to #1, I'm surprised by that virtually non-existent price difference between the two. Is that really accurate? Or is it one of those misleading figures, where the base model's are close in price, but the B2's base model was a puny engine and the FSB quickly jumped in price with trim levels? In other words, was there a significant price difference for the versions people actually bought?

Speaking of stability, I was under the impression that Firestone was the culprit to all those flipovers, I guess a lot of other people thought the same back in the day..
I remember that being an Explorer thing, but maybe it started earlier than that and I just never followed the Bronco II. My friend's family had one in HS, as well as a Mustang II, and all I remember about them is they felt like watered down versions of what should have been purchased.

"The Explorer's inherent stability problems came to light in the mid-1990s when Explorers began to rollover after Firestone tire failures."

That would explain why I only remember it being an Explorer issue!
 

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They are all crap; I do have a 2wd 5.0 explorer; it's ungodly difficult to do major repairs on but very fun to drive in traffic and gets fairly decent gas mileage probably 17-18 mpg. I can fit around traffic into the next lane when it's backed up that I can't do in the broncos or super duty. Makes for quicker rush hour trips. 4 doors is handy and the rear seats drop down and I had a bronco tailgate and 2 doors inside of it before. IF I didn't live near a major city I probably wouldn't own it; it really is hard to work on and it gets cramped with more than one person. Best summary for it daily city beater; if I kept full coverage on it probably would of been totaled out 4 times now. Whenever the gt40p wears out I'll most likely part it out and scrap it and replace with a toyota with similar cargo space and high mpg.
 
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