The return of the Ford Bronco is itself a very big affair for Ford, but it’s the smaller sibling of that SUV that could well have a bigger impact for the American manufacturer. The so-called “Baby Bronco”, a name that has stuck to the project since its existence was made known, still has to be given an official name. But a trademark filing last week might give a clear indication of where Ford is headed.
Ford filed for a trademark on the Puma name with the World Intellectual Property Office; the filing applies to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Ford doesn’t actually own the Puma name for the U.S., but it could file for it at any time, and it already owns the name in Europe. What’s more, the company dropped its ownership of the Maverick name that had long been rumoured for the Baby Bronco.
As for the Puma name, Ford actually sold a model with that designation in Europe from 1997 to 2002. But that model, a Fiesta-based small sport coupe, has no connection to the SUV Ford is currently working on.
The new Puma, if that really is the name it will receive, will be similar in appearance to the future Bronco. But beyond that the two models won’t share all that much. The Puma will be built on Ford’s new modular platform that will underpin the next Focus (to be sold outside of North America, as we already know), while the Ford will get the platform used on the Ranger. Evidently, the Puma will be more at home in the urban environment than out in the wild.
While the Bronco is set to make its public debut in January 2019 at the Detroit auto show, we don’t know when the unveiling of its smaller sibling will take place. It will likely happen at some point in 2019, but that is still to be confirmed.