There was little question as to what vehicle Ford was targeting when it brought back the beloved Bronco. An open-top, two- or four-door, body-on-frame SUV with rugged good looks and legitimate off-road chops? Yeah, we’ve seen that somewhere else before. And so we watch as the Ford vs. Jeep battles rage on pavement, off the beaten path and, perhaps most important of all, on sales floors all across these United States.
Who’s winning is a matter of how you choose to read the numbers. In total, Jeep sold 37,971 Wranglers over the course of the first three months of 2023. Ford sold 32,430 Broncos over the same period (and another 29,871 Bronco Sport crossovers, though those obviously compete with different Jeeps). So, by sheer volume alone, the Wrangler outsold the Bronco. But that’s hardly the full picture.
Those 32,430 Bronco sales represent a 37.6% increase over the same period in 2022. In contrast, Jeep’s nearly 38,000 Wrangler sales equals a 17% decline over the same period a year ago. We’re sure there are plenty of buyers who are also cross-shopping the Jeep Gladiator with the Wrangler and Bronco, so let’s add those figures up. Jeep sold 13,575 Gladiators in the first quarter of 2023 — putting combined Wrangler and Gladiator sales at 51,546 units — which was also down, in this case by 24%. We also know that Ford is still working to fulfill a large number of Bronco backorders, meaning Bronco sales could be capped more by Ford’s ability to build them fast enough than by customer demand.
Looking further back, the Detroit Free Press reports that the Bronco was within a handful of sales compared to the Wrangler in January of this year, so it would seem Jeep managed to pull further ahead in February and March. We can’t offer any further insight into trim level breakdowns or vehicle profitability other than to point out that the cheapest Bronco Ford will allow users to spec costs $36,390 whereas the least expensive Wrangler runs $32,990. Prices obviously go up from there, with examples of the Bronco Raptor and Wrangler Rubicon 392 reaching alarmingly high sums, not to mention the electrified Jeep Wrangler 4xe that further throws a wrench into the pricing discussion due to the (up to) $7,500 federal tax credit it currently qualifies for.
So, like we said, which hardcore off-roader is winning the sales battle comes down to perspective. In any case, both the Bronco and Wrangler look to be selling well. The battle continues unabated, and we’re happy to follow along via our virtual front-row seats.