With the Ford Bronco and “Baby Bronco” among the hottest coming attractions to the automotive world, it’s tempting to tie any Ford news that involves the phrase “four-wheel drive” with the new off-roaders. Australian outlet Go Auto discovered two Ford trademark applications for the name “Puma.” Both were lodged in the past 30 days, one covering Australia, one New Zealand. The goods and services the name would apply to? “Motor land vehicles, namely automobiles, pick-up trucks, utility trucks, four-wheel drive vehicles and sports utility vehicles, and parts thereof.”
That has pundits wondering if the U.S. automaker will dub the baby Bronco the Puma. If so, this would mean the resurrection of the moniker, first used on a Fiesta-based coupe sold in Europe from 1997 to 2002. Although only on sale for five years, the Puma won numerous awards and earned quite the following. Around 2009 industry observers believed the Puma might return, as the smoke from The Great Recession cleared and other automakers rolled out small coupes like the Honda CR-Z and Hyundai Veloster, but nothing came of it. Ford still holds the rights to the Puma name in Europe through 2025.
If Puma gets the nod overseas, the name seems unlikely to make it here. Ford didn’t apply for a Puma trademark application in the U.S.. In May of this year the automaker registered the Maverick and Timberline names domestically, and many expect Maverick to win the name game. Ford once owned the rights to the Maverick name in Australia, which it used on a series of rebadged Nissan Patrols, but let the trademark lapse. With rumors that Ford intends to build a Bronco sub-brand, though, all the registered names we know of so far could find homes eventually.