Ford Ranger's and Mazda Pickup's Demise Could Boost Mahindra

Posted by: David Kiley on November 20, 2007

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Ford Motor Co. will stop making the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickup in 2009 when it closes its Twin Cities plant where the venerable Ranger is built.

So far, it doesn’t look like Ford wants to stay in that market, preferring to serve the small non-working pickup market with the Explorer Sport Trac. Building a small pickup in Mexico doesn’t look like it’s on the agenda either.

That will help those that remain: The Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon and Mitsubishi. It should also give a nudge to Mahindra and Mahindra, the Indian automaker that plans to launch [Baseball, Apple Pie and Mahindra, October 25, 2007]a two door pickup (pictured above), four-door pickup and SUV in 2009. All of Mahindra’s vehicles promise to get better than 30 mpg, a substantial cost savings over the U.S. and Japanese rivals.

I won’t miss the Ranger. The current model was being put through its engineering paces during Bush 41’s administration, though it was freshened a few times after that.

The U.S. pickup market seems to have left most of these small trucks behind. There has been so much discounting that Dodge, GM and Chrysler would just as soon sell a big pickup than keeping a small one on the lot. Toyota and Chrysler have been especially dogged in updating their small trucks and marketing them on capability. But I wonder if Chrysler LLC’s new owners will target the Dakota as expendable. Part of the trouble there, of course, is that they are in a partnership with Mitsubishi on the Dakota. Too, ther is talk that Chrysler’s Jim Press wants to make Dodge dealers just sellers of trucks and maybe an SUV. So, dealers won’t want to give up one of the few products it has.

Small trucks tend to be bought by young men, a small percentage of women and the small contractor/handyman customer. Some suburban weekend warriors buy them too, but that trend has been fading.

There will be dogged Ranger fans who tear at their garments and wring their hands. But it’s a good market for Ford to vacate if you ask me.

Reader Comments

Doug

November 21, 2007 12:28 PM

I think Ford made a gigantic mistake allowing their Ranger program rot for the past 2 decades. Just imagine if they kept that product current and were offering a hybrid or tiny diesel in a modernized & super light-weight PU. They'd sell the heck out of it to those who don't need to haul around 4 x 8 sheets of drywall. If they offered a 50+ mpg small PU today they'd own the market and no one would be writing about some crappy Indian manufacturer.

The Big-3 bet on the continued full-size PU market (depending on those once large profit margins) and it now looks like(with $3+ gas) that the bet has gone bust. It's like the mid-1970's all over again.

Noz

November 22, 2007 7:39 PM

It is about time that the Ruptured Ranger was put out to pasture, just a rumpsprung olde dog, it finally bit the dust. Once mediocre at best, it has continued to pale badly in comparison to the competition year after year. That the Mazda name appeared on the Ranger is a dirty shame for Mazda. But the dealers needed pickups, or thought they did until they found they could not sell what Ford shoved off onto them, and there was nothing Mazda had that could be imported that was suited to our rather strange market.

In the rest of the world the old-style pickup beds are still used, the ones with stout sides and lots of tie-down hooks around the edges. Function over form once again. Vehicles made for use rather than to be seen in at Safeway.

It is an interesting exercise in futility trying to find not just US-style pickups elsewhere, but medium-weight trucks as well. That the several Japanese brands have done so very well here should have been a clue, but as usual, GM/Ford/ Dodge ignored the subject. As they should have. They are not up to designing and building world-class commercial vehicles--OUR market does not demand them in sufficient numbers. The American Way has been to offer for export what we have on our streets and if there are no buyers, so be it. Just another losing proposition. Recall the Cheevie Citation with Toyota badging? Went over like a lead bagel. German-style arrogance here--alive and well in America.

FordMazdaFan

November 26, 2007 7:42 PM

Hmmm - looks like Ford did not learn it's lesson quite yet starting with the Taurus. The same logic that was applied with the Taurus has now been applied to the Ranger/B-Series trucks i.e. "make us money but we put nothing back into you." The Ranger and B-Series are really good trucks as they are today - the bigger problem that has changed and will continue to change the higher the price of fuel goes is the same problem the public has somewhat with housing too; always have to have bigger than what I need and then cry when it is to expensive to own and maintain. If you go anywhere but the US - you can get the Ranger in diesel and a lot of times the Mazda version is more Mazda than Ford vs. in the US it is more Ford than Mazda. Ford has released a new style Ranger - based upon Mazda B-50 series trucks in Europe and elsewhere that are doing quite well. In the US - the Ford Execs. (Hi Mark Fields!!!) still cannot wrap their heads around the fact that the era of large trucks/large SUVs that cost $40,000+ and cannot obtain mileage beyond about 16MPG is slowly going away - the higher the price of fuel goes especially. This is probably because of all the years making big profits/collecting big bonuses/and having their ties to tight around their neck cutting off the oxygen to their brains which caused the Taurus problem i.e. kill it then go "oops" then bring it back. Chrysler and GM are no different. Toyota is not primairly knows for its trucks - even though they do quite well - but mainly for the Camry and now the Prisus; Honda Accord and Civic; even Mazda (33% owned by Ford plus Ford's newest cars the Fusion and Milan are based on Mazda 6 and the Ford Focus has a lot of Mazda 3 technology) but they figure if they redid the Ranger/B-Series and offered them in a "economy" diesel version - it would cut into large truck sales - "Hello Ford - in case you have not noticed - you are already losing sales/market share in this full-size truck area already - updating the Ranger and actually spending some money and time marketing and reintroducting it - especially emphasizing the gas mileage aspect - is exactly what is needed now and should be part of the "Way Forward" plan which is looking more like the "Way Backward" plan. Yes - that is it - all costs are going up - especially the cost of transportation which is driving all other costs up - let's kill the Ranger and B-Series trucks and now lets come out with the $60,000+ Ford 450 pickup that gets worse mileage than the 350 but costs more and then wonder why every quarter we are losing sales and market share - just cannot figure that out?????????

DA

November 27, 2007 12:12 PM

I currently own a full size Chevy Pu and when I decide to purchase a new one it is going to be a small PU. With gas prices continually going up I cannot afford the luxary of a full size PU. Besides 99% of the time I haul only myself and wife. Ford is going to regret their decision when gas is $5 a gallon and no one buys the F150.

charles jackson

November 27, 2007 1:33 PM

The Ranger was one of Fords best quality trucks, If you go to the service dept, most will tell you that the Ranger has less problems than anything else, plus with the envionment in Congress could be of help with CAFE!Fords mistake is letting it wither on the vine!As they have other products! People will be less inclinded to by a Ford with this habit of discontuning vechicles!
The main thing I think would be a hit would bring back a Ranchero Type vechicle, seems ideal, people want a truck with car like fuel mileage and conforts!

dan martinez

December 3, 2007 11:43 AM

I have owned four Rangers, years 92 to 99, I really like these trucks (I have also owned a Toyota truck) The Rangers offer more room in the cab and great value, I prefer the four cylinder model as it has less problems (no problems really). Better fuel efficiency would be Great though. I'm thinking of switching to a Suzuki Wagon for my small business (30mpg as opposed to 22).

JOE

December 16, 2007 9:36 PM

I OWN A SMALL BUSINESS AND THAT WHAT WE USE.JUST LIKE DA SAID A FULL SIZE PICK UP IS TO MUCH GAS.

Greg Rossel

December 26, 2007 7:35 PM

As a small business owner (boat builder), I am a confirmed fan of the small pickup. I like their maneuverability, their carrying capacity and especially their fuel economy. I finally purchased a Ranger in 2006 after nearly 30 years of Toyotas and a particularly rugged Mitsubishi/Dodge D-50.

I decided on the Ranger after finding that no other small truck (in the US) was offered with the practical long i.e. 7 foot bed. This is unfortunate. Long bed small trucks are offered everywhere throughout the world except North America. The nearest dealership I found that sold a (real) Mitsbishi PU w/ a long bed was in Belize.

All that said, I have to say I like the Ranger. It handles well, is comfortable, has good capacity, the 4 cylinder engine has all the power I need and in the summer, the vehicle consistently gets better than 29 mpg. And, yes, it has enough power to tow anything I want.

Look, if you intend to tow 20 Holsteins over the Rocky Mountains and axle deep mud flats, maybe the Ranger isn't for you. But, for many, the 2 wd drive Ranger is a fine choice. The mechanics in our area see Rangers with hundreds of thousands of miles on them and they are still going strong. Some buyers will grouse that the styling and engines haven't been "updated". Who cares? Older designs can mean time tested reliable designs with the bugs worked out and cheaper parts. And frankly, I care little about acceleration or flashy decals.

I do think Ford is missing the boat with their fixation on large trucks -- right when fuel prices are certain to continue in the $3 plus range. I would like to see them outfit the Ranger with a clean diesel and then market the hell out of them to small businesses. Ford could bill itself the manufacturer of the "greenest" and most practical and affordable truck in America.

Les Kish

January 25, 2008 9:37 PM

I owned a 4-cyl. Ranger for over 10 years, sold it with 180K miles on it. I had no problems with this truck whatsoever. In 2009 I'll be on the market for a small truck again, but there won't be any. What a shortsightness from Ford (and the others)to abandon this market. I wish Subaru would come out with a small truck based on the Forester frame.(The Baja is a joke). Imagine an economical AWD, small pick up truck with the right brand! Hello Subaru!

Glenn Thompson

February 11, 2008 9:30 PM


I just came back from Thailand and Brazil. They have Toyota, Isuzu, and
Mitsubishi Pickups, 4 door, 5 and 6 speed standards, TurboDiesel, 4
cylinder, GREAT looking trucks, get 30 to 35 mpg highway, good power.

Why can't we have those here??? If we got TWICE the fuel economy,
(therefore using HALF the fuel) wouldn't a slightly higher emission,
if any, be more than offset???

d. gong

February 16, 2008 3:35 PM

Some very good points on ford down fall to avoid making a mid size ranger. If they only used the knowlege from building the f150 and use a diesel engine or a hybrid power plant from a escape to power the unit.
They would have the idea mid truck.

John Ashman

March 3, 2008 2:02 AM

I would have bought the Asian/European Ranger/BT50 with turbo diesel had it been available this year. Instead, I bought a V6 manual Dodge Dakota and the gas mileage is still mediocre. The first company to provide me with an economical turbo diesel pickup will likely get my money as soon as they have product. And that looks like Mahindra. It really pisses me off that every place in the world has high economy vehicles except for us.

DJVL

March 18, 2008 1:22 AM

I owned a 1994 Ranger and drove it for 12 years. I sold it with 230,000 miles on it, and it still ran like great! This truck was a 5-speed with the 2.3 liter engine, so it got good gas mileage and was practically bulletproof!

It's too bad that Ford would not offer a diesel engine in the American version (like they did for the African version), and it's a really bad move to eliminate the only true compact truck left (in America)! With gas prices going above $3/gallon, what are they thinking? And by the way, the Explorer Sport Trac does not get the same gas mileage as my Ranger (it's not much better than a full-size truck), so it makes a bad replacement for the Ranger! I hope they decide to come out with something more fuel efficient to replace the Ranger, we have too many gas-guzzling trucks out there already!

Come on, Ford. Don't let Mahindra take over the fuel-efficient truck market! The Sport-trac just isn't going to cut it!!!!

Timothy Turner

March 18, 2008 8:07 PM

It's a tough deal for Ford and the Ranger. The competition manufactures only mid size trucks with disappointing fuel economy.
We know the gas prices will never be cheap again so only a freaking fool would buy a guzzler when a sipper will suffice.

Marc

March 28, 2008 5:51 PM

I am with you guys, I would certainly pay $$$ for a quad cab turbodiesel ranger, small, 4x4, good mileage... nuff said. I have been investigating on how to get around the chicken tax and import a few of these bad boys that I have seen in SA/Caribbean countries.

Tim

March 31, 2008 4:40 PM

I had a small Toyota truck in the 70's. Then the Ranger came out in the early 80's. I was in the market for a new pickup as the Toyota bed was rusted out. I liked what I saw in the Ranger, so I switched to Ford. I liked the Rangers so much I'm on my 3rd one now and it looks like it will be my last Ranger.
Well, I guess Ford is making so much freakin money now they can abandon solid customers like me. This will be my last Ford.
I would have liked to see Ford survive but, with business plans like dumping the Ranger I can see why Toyota continues to kick the American Automotive Manufacturers behind on a regular basis.
I see a shiny new Toyota in my future.

Daniel J Swanson

June 1, 2008 1:27 AM

You can't run an old successful car company into the ground by making proper decisions about the best selling compact truck in history. You must obscure your decesions, then produce vehicles that no one will buy.
Welcome to the new Ford F-100 and F-150. The end is near...

Wayne

June 10, 2008 7:29 PM

Anyone who talks crap about a Ranger either has never owned one or knows nothing about them.
I have owned a 1992 Ranger 3.0 V6 for over 10 years. I bought it used in 1997. It has never had any problems other than the normal wear out items, brakes, wiper blades & tires. I have well over 160,000 miles & I plan on buying another one when it gets to 200,000. If Ford doesn't have new, I'll buy used again.
What a Great truck !

Sharon

June 19, 2008 12:00 PM

I'm sorry to hear about the demise of the ranger.

Not everyone needs a bigger truck. We are looking to buy a ranger to haul hay, larger loads that a car can't carry (i.e., pieces of furniture etc.). With gas prices as they are, we neither want nor need anything bigger.

Shame that folks like us who want a little "hauler" are being snubbed.

wreckerman

June 20, 2008 5:20 PM

I have owned two gas burner Rangers and they were great trucks. Tight cabs but great fuel milage and manuverability.
My prize is a 1987 Diesel Ranger that I bought a few weeks ago.
Were the idiots at Ford drunk when they cancelled this truck?
It is very used but runs good in spite of obvious abuse by a former owner.
It has a 4 banger turbo diesel in it with a 5 speed.
I put a cold air intake and straight exhaust on it and it really zips around.
I am running it on a 50/50 mix of kerosene and used veggie oil.
I have no problems with power or performance and it smells like frying chicken.
The leadership in our auto industry seemed doomed to repeat their failures of the past.
Severe lack of foresight has cost them any chance of competing with the emerging overseas manufacturers.

Lawson

June 30, 2008 5:48 PM

I have owed a Ford pickup and I Found it to be a very good truck.If Ford does away with the Ford Ranger it proves that the the company is on a decline and I will Buy something elese.

jake

August 10, 2008 10:32 PM

I have owned a 2 rangers since 1990 and found them both to be dependable good looking and economical. Given the projected costs of fuel and the lack of choices of small trucks that are economical and reliable in the US it is difficult to understand why Ford does not appreciate that investing in the Ranger could help them recover from their present state of financial hemoriging. Does the company have a death wish?

p.w.prawl

September 7, 2008 4:10 AM

Hey, FORD, how about a 4 cyl 1960 falcon ranchero pickup (like u sell in brazil). Or how about my 1961 corvair pickup that got 30 mpg, or my small 1973 nissan king cab yjat got 30 mpg, or my 2 mitsubishi pickups, (1980 4x2) and 1986 4x4 with 2.8litre engine & 5 speed. All those were good pickups for over 200,000 miles!
I wonder if I can fit a pickup bed on my 350z?

jim hardy

September 15, 2008 4:22 PM

i just bought another '83 diesel ranger, my second. The 2.2 non-turbo is a bit anemic (59hp@4000rpm but the warm purr is endearing...
I'll drive this one as long as i can keep it running.


Yes Ford is showing terrible judgement. Ranger is perfect for us retired guys who haul yard stuff and household items for the neighbors. I'd buy a brand new one if they still made the little diesel.

tjvickers

October 23, 2008 7:40 AM

yup go ahead old trusty ford sell to a market of yuppies in new york and dont look after small town people who need a small economical vehical. you got rid of the in line 6 you may as well get rid of the ranger

brandon

October 27, 2008 10:20 AM

i cant belive they are getting rid of the ranger in my home town 99% of the trucks there are rangers my old school teacher still has his 85 with 500,000 miles on it and still going strong but i looked on ford.ca and i looked up bulid and price when u select model and go 2 2009 and the f-450 and f-350 are still greay but the 2009 ranger is there not 2 much can be done just yet where she only opened the new build and price site it only just went up over the weekend but as it looks the ranger lives on well in canada anyway hope u guys in the states keep yours 2 ive always dreamed of haveing my own ranger i just hope its not to late

Harry

January 2, 2009 11:57 PM

My first Ranger was a 1984 my second one was a 1991, two weeks after I purchased the 1991 the company I worked for bought me a 1991 Ranger which I drove 269000 miles before I retired, my 1991 has 69000 miles on it all three were small V6's, with 5 speed's, so now that I am retired I figure my truck has more than 200000 miles left on it, If I cant get a new ranger, if/or when, I tire of it, I will drive this one.

Dirk

July 14, 2009 4:30 PM

A Ford product wasn't my first choice in 05 but when I went looking to replace a 99 Toyota Tacoma. I realized everyone had gone mid sized with poor fuel economy. I purchased an 04 Mazda with the 2.3 and a 5 speed. I get 29 mpg. I too wish there was a small diesel. I've been telling everyone about the Mahindra coming out and many people I know are excited about it. If I didn't own the Mazda I'd be on the waiting list. I like small trucks because I'd rather overload my truck once every five years than under utilize it on a daily basis with the gas costs to show for it. I really want the American auto makers to succeed but I don't hold out much hope.

Deborah

July 30, 2009 3:15 PM

I just purchased an 09 Ford Ranger. For a small truck and I chose a 4cyl with 5sp manual, I am very happy. It FEELS like a small truck. Fuel mileage for this type of vehicle is great, plus it can do more work than a 4 door car. I am glad I have one of the last Rangers.

ynotAWS

July 31, 2009 9:42 PM

I have been driving compact cars and pickups all my life and I have been a staunch proponent of Toyota trucks...they were always good for 300 to 400,000 miles. I've never owned a Ranger, but my father did, as well as many friends. The Ranger had no serious problems and were good for an average of 230,000 miles, which is o.k. in my book! The Ranger is the only "compact" truck left that is sold in the U.S., what a shame that Ford is discontinuing the truck.
I lost my love for the Toyota when they went mid-sized, and now they don't offer a manual transmissions anymore. Our nation has become a land of wimps, only caring about how we look going to soccer practice, never mind how much fuel we are wasting to get there.
The "the powers at be" keep shoving these huge vehicles down our throats and telling us that compact trucks don't sell well in the U.S. market....MULE MUFFINS!, I believe that there a lot of people who would welcome small trucks again!
But we as Americans have to be willing to make some big sacrifices to get economy, i.e. safety. I don't care how many airbags you put into a vehicle, you can't protect people from every eventuality...people are still going to get killed. We also don't need "turbo" diesels, a simple 4 cylinder diesel will get the job done.

Skip G,

August 14, 2009 5:46 PM

I am now waiting for Ranger#9.Started with 93 Splash/3L had 2.3-2.5-3L and 4L Here in the north we get snow.I have never got stuck.You don't need a ladder to get in it.Car???? my Ranger is nicer,in and out.and yes now and then I haul something.This will be 4L#2 ,fuel,drive properly and save...

Nissantwa

August 28, 2009 9:06 PM

I have a 1998 Ford Ranger Club Cab 4 cyl/ 8 spark plugs with 137,000 trouble free miles. When I say trouble free, I mean nothing but tires and a timing belt at 100k. Not the favorite truck of my life but definitely the best. Went looking for a new one during cash for clunkers and found none available. Now I discover the model will be discontinued? Dumb. The 1998 gets better fuel mileage than the 2009 so mileage improvement has been non-existent. Furthermore, styling changes have been minimal so there's got to be some profit in there somewhere! Remember when Jeep discontinued the boxy Cherokee? They've been trying to duplicate it ever since. Sad.

Floridian

July 26, 2010 12:49 PM

I've driven compact trucks for the past 35 years. I had an 89 Ranger for 12 years and replaced the water pump once at 147,000 miles. I now have a 2001 XLT extended cab with 109,000 miles and not one single problem. And oh yeah, the guy I sold my 89 to is still driving it.
Ford, you screwed up big time.

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