The new Ford Bronco is going down....under

It may turn out to be a croc, but rumor has it that the new Ford Bronco is an Aussie.

Motoring reports that Ford’s Australian division is heading up engineering work on the reborn SUV, which is pegged to hit dirt roads by 2020.

Ford ended car manufacturing at its Australian operations this year and refocused it as a vehicle development hub. It hasn’t acknowledged the Bronco project even exists, but recent leaks and comments from UAW sources have pretty much confirmed that both it and a new Ranger small pickup will enter production in Michigan in a couple of years.

--Trump's attack on Ford reveals return of Ranger and Bronco

Ford currently produces and sells a Ranger in markets outside the United States that was a product of its Australian division, and the new trucks will likely be built on an updated version of that platform, so having it also manage the Bronco seems like a logical move.

Nothing is officially known about the new Bronco, but basing it on the Ranger, rather than the F-150, suggests it will be more like the compact original than the jumbo O.J. Simpson chase-era truck.

And it might be faster than Al Cowlings', too.

Last year, Ford’s chief performance engineer, Jamal Hameedi, visited Australia to discuss the creation of a high performance Ranger Raptor pickup, according to CarsGuide. Considering the Bronco was Ford’s original hardcore off-roader, and a staple in desert races like the Baja 1000, adding a roughstock version of it to the to-do list is almost a no-brainer. In fact, Ford already built one.

(Jimmys 4x4)

It recently unveiled an old-school Bronco-styled racing buggy that Vaughn Gittin, Jr. will be running in next year’s King of the Hammers off-road race. It’s a purpose built competition machine that’s not based on any production vehicle, but the choice of branding it a Bronco seems Aussie-spicious.

--New Ford Bronco built to be King of the Hammers