We've heard the rumor before, but there's evidence to suggest it could happen.

Bronco and Mustang. Along with F-150, these models are certainly icons in Ford's fleet and they could become even more than that in the future. We’ve heard persistent rumors about both becoming sub-brands for Ford, and those rumors are fueled yet again in a new report from Autoweek.

Specifically, an alleged source with connections to Ford said the automaker is taking a hard look at creating Bronco and Mustang sub-brands that would encompass a wide variety of vehicles. The models would be part of a so-called Icons division, and there is some hard evidence to support the claim. Ford already has an Icons Group in place that supports existing vehicles such as the Mustang, Ford GT, and F-150 Raptor. Building a larger sub-brand with icons as its theme doesn’t seem like such a large step.

Developing and launching new models, however, is a large step. And it would likely be a very dicey step when it comes to Mustang, as purists are already upset over the forthcoming Mach-E electric crossover getting Mustang branding. According to the report, Ford is considering pretty much everything for a Mustang sub-brand including sedans and crossovers.

The source jokingly mentions a fistfight could break out over the discussion of a Mustang pickup truck. Could such a thing really be on the minds of executives in Dearborn? Combining the best-selling vehicle in America with the best-selling sports car in the world is something we'd be surprised to learn hasn't been considered at this point. We presented a Mach-E truck rendering late last year, so it’s not like other folks aren't already thinking about it.

Gallery: Ford Bronco Spy Photos

We suspect a Bronco sub-brand would be considerably less controversial. It doesn’t have nearly the same legacy as Mustang, and it’s also not focused on a single, specific formula. Furthermore, there are already two distinctly different Bronco offerings poised to launch when the moniker is rebooted this year.

The larger body-on-frame Bronco will pay homage to the off-roader’s roots, utilizing a rear-wheel-drive-based 4x4 system to go head-to-head with the Jeep Wrangler. The smaller Bronco Sport utilizes the same platform as the front-wheel-drive-based Ford Escape and will be more of a soft-roader, offering all-wheel-drive in a chiseled body.

The Bronco was expected to debut in early April but the event was postponed due to coronavirus. Ford doesn’t have a new date set in stone just yet, but we’re told it will happen in late spring. That means we should finally see the Bronco’s return sometime within the next month.

Source: Autoweek