Ford May As Well Ditch The Ranger

Posted by: David Kiley on June 5, 2007

2006ranger.jpg

Automotive News reports this week what has been long known at Ford, but not articulated lately; that is whether or not the company should plan a replacement for the Ranger pickup.

The compact truck will go out of production next year. The only thing I have heard about it having a future is that Ford has considered building a replacement in Thailand.

But, frankly, it’s a segment that Ford should just walk away from. Don’t spend the money. It’s like minivans, only worse. There is no innovation that I can think of that would justify staying in a dying, commodity segment like small pickups. It would only make sense if Ford could come out with a really useful, small truck that got terrific gas mileage, like 30 mpg.

As the AN article points out, sales of Chevy’s Colorado (a truly terrible truck)were down to 94,000 last year, from 150,000 in 2002. Dodge Dakota sales have been falling like a stone too. Toyota manages one of the best residual values in the industry with its Tacoma pickup by tightly managing production and inventory, but Detroit doesn’t play it that way.

Ford is better off managing its F-Series pickup program, so that it has a value-priced version to sell to would-be Ranger buyers. Even if Ranger buyers go to Chevy, Dodge, Toyota or Nissan for a small truck, it’s not that big a deal. It’s hard to imagine that Ford is making any money on Ranger now. And if it builds in Thailand, it has to pay a tax to import them in.

The Big Three have too much full-size pickup truck capacity now. And Toyota just made things worse with the new Tundra. There will be so much discounting of f/s trucks in the foreseeable future that it will put pressure on all small pickup prices.

At the end of the day, its a commodity business unless Ford can innovate a major fuel economy boost. And I just don’t see that.

Wave good-bye to Ranger. Put the capital into a program that will deliver real profits.

Reader Comments

jake

June 5, 2007 9:41 PM

In terms of hoarding precious capital for more meaningful programs, I can't help but agree with you. I wistfully suspect that Ford could make a purse out of a sow's ear by tripling up on a new platform. IMHO, A new Ranger, a retro Bronco-like vehicle (say, olive greemn with a white top) and a panel van based on the bronco styling with choice of decent V-6, eco-diesel or hybrid powertrains could probably keep a plant humming. The risk is probably too great, though.

Brendan Moore

June 5, 2007 10:51 PM

Since Ford has already stated it will bring in the Ford Transit Connect, their tough little delivery van built in Turkey and sold in Europe and other places, maybe a pickup derivative of the van might be the answer.

The Transit Connect is quite fuel-efficient, even under load, and a pickup version should have the same virtues.

B Moore - Autosavant.net

Gary

June 6, 2007 8:05 AM

Thats all well and good focusing on the needs of the US market, but doesn't Ford, Toyota et al also sell these vehicles in that little bit of the planet outside of North America (called the 'rest of the world'), where the ranger is probably profitable and volumes would jsutify investment. Stick a decent diesel engine in it and you'd get 30+mpg easily too.

Randy

June 11, 2007 11:19 PM

Apparently Ford is doing pretty well with sales of the Ranger in Canada, even with the current dated design. High gas prices here do seem to create a market for a smaller truck. This may be the wrong time to abandon this market. Even a regular cab and extended cab version of the Sportrac, perhaps with a diesel or at least a modern V6, may be the short term answer for new product. At least the development costs should be reasonable.

dan

November 6, 2007 11:05 PM

i just bought a four door ford ranger with a 3.0 liter turbo diesel in thailand and i luv it. 160 hp, great mileage, tuff.... and lots of room inside. The market in the states is just a small part of what ford, and all other major manufacturers, are doing. Small trucks in all recently developed and developing countries are the majority of vehicles on the road.

Sandy Buselli

August 10, 2008 4:56 PM

i love ford truck i hade truck from 4/25/02. plow is 2 years old plow cost 2700$ Truck is very good shape oil was change every 3000 miles.it is 4Door with 4.0 in it on highway it gets 20+ mpg got bed liner small truck are doing good now with gas going up.(TRUCK IS NOT BEAT) truck has 46500 miles on it that is low miles to i am selling it for now got no atv to pull and i have some one to plow my lot.Truck is Very Nice(2001 Ford Ranger Off Road 4X4 4.0 motor black 4Door Like To No More ( THINK SNOW )

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