Ford Bronco versus Jeep Wrangler. This is a new rivalry that automotive enthusiasts can’t get enough of. There’s no denying that Ford is directing its reborn off-roader right at Jeep’s legendary 4×4, but with a year of sales now under the Bronco’s belt, is the Wrangler feeling the pressure of its first direct competition in decades?
According to research from IHS Markit, the general answer to that question is no. Maybe better is not yet, as the data says some Jeep buyers jumped off the boat but that wasn’t enough to reduce the Wrangler’s overall market share. There are also other factors at play, not least the recent arrival of the Bronco and the early frenzy that comes with new models.
Sales data from IHS Markit plots the market share for the Jeep Wrangler back to 2019. The roller coaster, which in 2020 saw share decline to just under 6 percent, then rose to 11 percent, before returning to a range that fluctuated between 7 and 9 percent. . With sales of the Bronco starting in the summer of 2021, we see Wrangler’s share drop to around 6 percent before returning to 8 percent earlier this year. Meanwhile, the portion of Bronco increased to about 5 percent. So in the grand scheme of things, the Wrangler held on as the Bronco expanded in the SUV segment.
So where do Bronco buyers come from? The study found other SUVs lost some share, notably the Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Rogue. It appears that the Bronco is bringing new buyers into the world of off-road-focused SUVs, and for this first year, the study also cited brand loyalty as a driving factor in Bronco sales. Nearly half of Bronco buyers already own a Ford, while only four in 10 Wrangler owners own a Jeep.
While Wrangler’s market share has remained stable, the study mentions several defections in the Wrangler lineup. IHS Markit says more Jeep owners are turning to the Bronco than any other brand since it went on sale last year. The study also shows that the Bronco is still a new vehicle, and the data will pick up once the initial excitement among buyers has subsided.
By the first quarter of 2022, ending in March, Jeep sold nearly 9,000 Broncos. However, year-over-year sales of the Wrangler are down 8 percent, though lingering supply chain issues may have something to do with it. It will be interesting to see how sales compare for the first half of the year, which Ford and Jeep will report in just a few weeks.