Ford files patent for SUV fenders with integrated running boards and storage


The Ford Flex disappeared in 2019, but its boxy approximation of the new Ford Bronco made it the ideal vehicle to use for a new patent filing. In 2020, FoMoCo asked for something that looks strategically designed for the brand’s new off-roader – replaceable fenders with integrated storage and steps.

The filing, released last week, shows a replaceable front fender that adds some utility. It includes a grab handle, tool storage compartment and built-in steps. Ford says in the patent that people could use the steps to access rooftop cargo or to attend a sporting event. The Bronco already has removable fenders, and it makes sense that Ford would offer customers something to replace them, although we don’t know if this patent will become a real product. But it should.

Removable fenders allow customers to protect their vehicle’s paintwork from damage and the SUV to squeeze through tighter trails. Ford has a slew of off-road upgrades and goodies for the Bronco, and a serviceable fender replacement sounds like a simple idea that could pay off.

Ford has dropped other off-road-oriented accessories in recent months. Late last year, a case emerged for a retractable exhaust tip, which could help protect it off-road or Ford could design a shorter exhaust pipe. The company has also filed a patent for an autonomous deployable drone that would work to scan off-road terrain. Both might appeal to off-road enthusiasts.

Ford will surely expand its line of Bronco accessories in the months and years to come as it learns what its customers want. A replacement fender is an interesting idea with many possibilities, including additional storage lockers or other features. There’s a lot in store for the future of the Bronco, which includes the high-performance Bronco Raptor that’s just around the corner.

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