Kyle Johnson
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Thank Jim Farley for the Look of the Ford Bronco Sport

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2021 Ford Bronco Sport action shot
Jim Farley had some great advice for Bronco Sport designers
Photo: Ford

Fortunately for all of us, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport looks, drives, and feels like a Bronco. But the Bronco Sport as we know it might not have quite hit the former-most mark without the input of Jim Farley.

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Back in 2017, before he was the CEO of Ford, Farley rapped with designers working on the Bronco Sport. (He probably didn’t actually rap. He says his wife has all the musical talent in the family. But who knows. Maybe he’s got bars.) According to Automotive News’ Michael Martinez, he encouraged them to take the larger ideas they were working with and boil them down into two words of their choosing.

They opted to focus the design of the crossover around the words “honest” and “robust.” Good choices, too — could you imagine if they’d gone with, like, pizza and sweatshirt instead?

With those words in mind, the team set to work by sketching out their ideas and taking designs from other employees on different projects. That included Brian Paik, who was working on designing the 2021 Ford Bronco and built his sketch around similar design cues.

“There was a push to inject more Bronco DNA,” said Paik, whose winning idea earned him the title of head exterior designer for the Bronco Sport. “We really wanted to redact any kind of stylized, unnecessary features and really give it a purpose-built feel. Once the sketch was picked and we went to a clay model, there was kind of an agreement that this felt right.”

Farley’s words lead indirectly to super-cool bottle opener

2021 Ford Bronco Sport exterior
The best idea Ford has ever had? Maybe!
Photo: Ford

This suggestion from Jim Farley also helped in designing the cabin of the Bronco Sport. Interior design manager Scott Anderson says that focusing ideas on two simple concepts helped get everyone onto the same page. This resulted in innovations like the available MOLLE straps on the seatbacks and the bottle opener on the interior of the tailgate.

“Farley’s a really good product guy,” said Anderson. “Providing clarity of vision is what his job is. That was a moment where, at this program, the collective group heard those words, internalized it, and made a very clear decision on which way to go.”

And find the right way they did. The final product looks like a Bronco, which is every bit as important as performing like one. No wonder it’s already taking off with fans. With the first deliveries taking place in November, Ford’s seen a deluge of effusive praise from enthusiasts and journalists. After his turn with a Bronco Sport, Martinez said: “Really well done. We already know everyone wants a Bronco, but after this drive, I’m certain that everyone wants a Bronco Sport, too.”

Thanks, Jim!

Get in on the Fun: Order your 2021 Ford Bronco Sport or reserve your Bronco now