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Ford has changed the debut of its 2021 Bronco once again because its planned July 9 reveal falls on the birthday of O.J. Simpson, one of the iconic SUV’s most infamous passengers

The automaker tweeted Friday that it has moved the unveiling to July 13.

Here’s a short history lesson for those who might not understand why Simpson’s birthday and a Bronco are linked. In 1994, Simpson was charged in the double murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was involved in a slow speed chase as a passenger in a 1993 white Bronco driven by his friend after failing to turn himself in. The incident was broadcast on local and cable networks and the white Bronco became a pop culture moment. Simpson was acquitted.

Ford said that picking the debut date was coincidental.

The relaunch of the Bronco has been anticipated for years now. In 2017, Ford announced it was bringing back the Bronco after years of customer requests and speculation. The mid-size SUV that ended its 30-year production run in 1996 was supposed to debut in March. Then COVID-19 happened and well everything got cancelled, including numerous vehicle reveals.


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More than three years ago, Ford announced it was bringing back the Bronco after years of customer requests and speculation.

The mid-size SUV that ended its 30-year production run in 1996 was supposed to debut in March. Then COVID-19 happened and well everything got cancelled, including numerous vehicle reveals.

The reborn Ford Bronco will finally emerge to the media and public — beyond what we’ve already seen thanks to lots of leaked photos — on July 9. Ford announced the date in a post Saturday on Instagram.

Why has TechCrunch dared write about the Ford Bronco? Let’s ignore that it’s a Saturday and I’m trying to bring a little light into everyone’s lives for a fleeting moment or that the Ford Bronco was my childhood companion on numerous camping trips in Baja and the first vehicle I ever drove off road.

The Ford Bronco might be a classic. But it will certainly embody some new fangled tech, hence our interest. The Bronco is also part of Ford’s previously announced plans to invest $ 750 million and add 2,700 new direct jobs at its Wayne, Mich. factory. The Ford Bronco and an all-new Ford Ranger will be assembled at the Wayne factory, which will also house and a new modification center to support autonomous vehicles.

Expect Ford to produce a family of Bronco vehicles, including a smaller Bronco Sport and plug-in hybrid. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed during the company’s 2019 shareholder meeting that a hybrid would be part of the mix.

The Bronco is going to be available in two- and four-door configurations. There should be lots of opportunity for buyers to customize their Bronco. For instance, opting for removable doors and roof. The expectation is that the Bronco will have a body-on-frame chassis and be offered with 2.3-liter turbo four and maybe even a V6. Although it’s unclear if the smaller Sport will have a different architecture.

Stay tuned.


TechCrunch

Nikola Motor, the Arizona startup that made its debut as a publicly traded company June 4, will open up reservations later this month for a hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck that was designed to compete with the Ford F-150.

Reservations, or pre-orders, will open June 29 for the hydrogen-electric pickup truck known as the Badger, Nikola Motor founder and chairman Trevor Milton tweeted Tuesday.

The company’s initial focus has been to design, develop and eventually produce hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks and build out hydrogen station infrastructure throughout North America. Since its founding in 2014, the company has expanded its hydrogen-electric vision to powersports and more recently to pickup trucks. The company shared in February the first details about the Badger pickup truck, which will be available as a battery electric or fuel cell vehicle.

Nikola Motor has not produced any products yet. It doesn’t even have a factory. The company is building a factory in Coolidge, Arizona. The site has been cleared and construction will begin in 2020, Milton told TechCrunch in a recent interview, adding that he hoped for it to start this summer.

Against that backdrop of bold vision but no products — or even revenue — Nikola Motor is valued at $ 28.63 billion as of market close Tuesday. Nikola’s market capitalization eclipsed Ford at one point Tuesday.

Nikola became a publicly traded company through a reverse merger with VectoIQ, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company led by GM’s former vice chairman Stephen Girsky. Since its June 4 debut, the stock has had a short volatile ride, trading at more than 112% higher than its debut price of $ 37.55. Shares closed Tuesday at $ 79.73.

Badger takes aim at Ford, Tesla

“We went directly after the Ford F-150 market and it’ll be a direct competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck as well,” Milton told TechCrunch.

Milton said the pickup truck won’t compete with Rivian, which is also planning to produce an electric pickup truck.

“The Rivian is a small truck like a Toyota Tacoma and will not compete in the construction world nor the Ford F 150, bigger pickup market that’s focused on home businesses construction and things like that. The Rivian is more of a consumer model that is used for outdoor recreational activities.”

The Badger has some eye-popping specs, including up to a 600-mile range, 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, according to Nikola Motor. The battery electric version will be able to travel 300 miles on a single charge and can be upgraded with fuel cells to double the range. The company expects the Badger to go into production in 2022.

But Nikola doesn’t plan to produce the Badger on its own, according to Milton. Instead, the company plans to partner with an OEM, which Milton said will be revealed later this year.


TechCrunch

Detroit’s big three automakers are to shut down all factories due to fears over the coronavirus. Details are still in the works and will be announced shortly.

Over the last few days, United Auto Workers has been pushing the automakers to shut down their factories over concerns of worker safety. UAW President Rory Gamble sent a letter calling on the automakers to shut down for two weeks. It’s unclear if this pressure had any effects on the automakers’ thought process.

Ford and FCA said they intended to only suspend operations at several Michigan-based plants. Early today, Honda announced it was pausing all operations at its 12 North American factories, including transmission and engine plants in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Canada and Mexico. Ford and GM followed several hours later. Now, in the afternoon, FCA also decided to close its factories.

At this time it seems the automakers are focusing on manufacturing and assembly plants. Most automakers had already instituted a work-at-home plan for office workers.

Along with these factories owned by major automakers, third-party suppliers will be affected, as their parts will no longer be needed. It’s unclear how many workers will ultimately be affected by these closures.

Tesla is reportedly working through shelter-in-place mandates. Early today, TechCrunch published an internal Tesla memo detailing employee instructions for its Fremont-based factory.

It read, in part, “There are no changes in your normal assignment and you should continue to report to work if you are in an essential function: production, service, deliveries, testing and supporting groups as discussed with your manager.” Tesla’s manufacturing employees, unlike the big three Detroit automakers, are not represented by the United Auto Workers.


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