Ford is coming after the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator with its next generation of rugged trucks and SUVs — most obviously, the new Ford Bronco and so-called “baby Bronco.” Judging from some of FoMoCo’s patents, the company’s strategy appears to be beating Jeep at its own game. We’ve seen Ford patents for Jeep-like removable doors and for making those removable doors safer. And now, a new Ford patent, found by Ford Authority, reveals Ford plans to let some truck/SUV owners remove the roof as well.
The patent is for a removable pickup hardtop. Latching assemblies would allow removal of a roof cap and rear window architecture. But it’s apparently superior to the one on the Unlike the removable top on the Jeep, Ford’s would have a self-aligning mounting system, making it easy for one person to replace the top.
If Ford were to implement this feature in the Ranger, for example, it would be a direct overture to the Gladiator fanbase. One of the Jeep truck’s unique offerings over pickup competitors is its Wrangler-like convertible roof. While the Ranger has earned positive reviews, it has been slow to establish itself in the midsize truck segment.
Ford could apply a similar latching mechanism for other vehicles. We’ve known for some time now that the new Ford Bronco plans to implement a Wrangler-like modular hardtop roof system to let in the open air. Given that Jeep offers hardtop and softtop options for its iconic off-roader, it’s not hard to imagine Ford doing likewise.