AMERICAN car maker Ford has moved the unveiling of the new Bronco SUV back by four days after it was pointed out that the previous date coincided with the birthday of ex-American footballer OJ Simpson.
The 72-year old is eternally linked to the Bronco after a televised (and very widely watched) low-speed car chase that took place five days after the murder of his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, in June 1994. The car being pursued by police was not driven by Simpson, but rather by its owner and his friend Al Cowlings, while Simpson sat in the rear, reportedly with a gun.
UPDATE: The reveal of the all-new Ford Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13. The previous targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday. We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.
— Mark Truby (@mtruby) June 19, 2020
The postponement of the release of the Bronco, an American automotive icon that has been anxiously awaited, was announced on Twitter by Mark Truby, Vice President of Communications at Ford.
He said: “The reveal of the all-new Ford Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13. The previous targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday. We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.”
A similar amendment was made to the original announcement on the company’s account five minutes afterwards.
The reveal of the all-new Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13. This is instead of July 9. We are sensitive and respectful to some concerns raised previously about the date, which was purely coincidental.
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) June 19, 2020
Ford had already said the dates being the same was nothing more than“pure coincidence”, and has maintained this line after moving the SUV’s launch, while acknowledging the problematic implications of releasing it on OJ’s birthday.
Simpson was famously and controversially acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. He was found responsible for the murders in a civil court, however, and ordered to pay $33.5m in damages. He has since served time in prison for his involvement in an armed robbery in Las Vegas.
Tanya Brown, the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, told the Detroit Free Press: “My first reaction was, ‘Are you kidding me? This is funny?’
“I just don’t know if it’s a good marketing twist.”
Unions and trade representatives have also expressed their relief that the date has been changed. “It was the right thing to do, period,” Todd Dunn, a United Auto Workers leader told the Free Press. “I’m just glad we’ve got leadership that will listen.”
Despite an uptick in the sales of Broncos after the chase, Ford decided to cease production of the SUV in 1996 amid reports of safety issues. The reintroduction of the model line, therefore, is eagerly anticipated in a country that has a long-time love affair with SUVs, and the Ford brand.
The relaunch of the Bronco was confirmed by Ford at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show and it said the model will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Michigan. There has been much speculation about what form it will take, with reports predicting it will share a chassis with the Ranger pick-up.
Ford is also following the example Land Rover set with the Range Rover, by introducing a smaller Sport version alongside the Bronco’s big brother.