[CNBC] Police cars pursue the Ford Bronco driven by Al Cowlings,
carrying fugitive murder suspect O.J. Simpson, on a 90-minute slow-
speed car chase on June 17, 1994, on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.
The global debut of the new Ford Bronco, one of the most highly
anticipated products from the automaker in years, will occur July 9.
But it might be carrying some unwanted baggage.
The resurrected SUV is scheduled to be unveiled on O.J. Simpson's 73rd birthday. The former football star was infamously involved in a
nationally televised slow-speed police chase with a 1993 Ford Bronco
following the death of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend
Ronald Goldman in 1994.
Simpson, who was charged but acquitted of the murders, was a passenger
in the white SUV as friend and former teammate Al Cowlings drove the
vehicle on the I-405 highway with police in pursuit. Millions of people
tuned in to watch the chase on June 17, 1994.
Jiyan Cadiz, a spokesman for Ford Motor, said Tuesday the "date is
purely coincidental." Ford was expected to unveil the vehicle earlier
this spring but canceled the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This isn't the first time the chase has been attached to the new
Bronco. On social media, Ford in February asked users for their
favorite memories of the Bronco. While many of the posts were people
sharing their stories, some also shared images of the police chase and
Simpson in the Bronco.
The debut of the Bronco has been anticipated for years. Ford initially confirmed its return in January 2017.
Ford executives have promised the Bronco will live up to its reputation
as a classic off-road SUV, which returns for the first time since 1996.
The 2021 Bronco is expected to be squarely positioned against Fiat
Chrysler's Jeep brand.
"The Bronco lineup has big upside potential in the growing off-road
category," Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley told investors last
week during a Deutsche Bank conference. "Jeep dominates and accounts
for a significant portion of (Fiat Chrysler's) revenue and global
profit. This is our opportunity."
Ford is expected to offer a "Bronco family" of vehicles, including
reports of a smaller SUV.
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