Ford's "Small" Truck Plan Will All Be in the Execution

Posted by: David Kiley on May 19, 2008

Ford is planning to replace the Ranger small pickup with a stepped down version of the Ford F150 pickup truck, according to www.pickuptrucks.com.

The small/mid-size truck mqarket has been drying up the last few years as Ford, GM, Toyota and Chrysler have been discounting the heck out of full-size pickups, making the smaller trucks undesirable.

Ford is planning on closing the Minnesota plant where the Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks are built. The solution for answering what’s left of demand for the smaller trucks is to offer a new truck based on the regularly updated F-Series chassis.

Seems like a good idea, but it will all be in the execution. The truck is expected to be a 6-cylinder (the 2009 F Series discontinues the 6 cylinder offering), and slightly smaller than the big brother. It will probably be called the F100 and carry Ford’s new eco-boost engine.

Automakers are under pressure to increase fuel economy across the board, and especially trucks and SUVs. The market for smaller trucks, though, is very hard to predict, making a full-on replacement for the Ranger a hard case to make to Ford’s accountants. We all know that fuel economy is going to remain a big issue. But it’s hard to know how much functionality truck buyers will sacrifice for better fuel economy in 2010-2015.

Ford is anticipating that more full-size truck buyers are going to trade down from gas thirsty big trucks if they can. And Ford can’t afford to lose that unknown number of buyers to Toyota and Dodge, not to mention newcomer Mahindra & Mahindra (entering the market in 2010 with clean diesel small trucks).

Reader Comments

mitch

May 20, 2008 8:26 AM

Ford needs to build a 4 door diesel powered Ranger like the ones available in the Middle East/Europe. The chevy 4 door small pickup is great, Ford needs a similar platform.

NOZ

May 20, 2008 10:13 PM

While I do not think this a good idea at all, I am certainly not surprised. In fact, it is a dumb idea with perhaps just one thing going for it, a cheaper vehicle (read: one with more profit in it and opportunities to gouge the hell out of the buyers as has been the habit with the Failing Three since Day One). And at the same time, 'cheap' is a Ford hallmark. They should at the very least spend a nickel and try to upgrade the parts and pieces we the people feel and touch. How basic can this be? Perhaps just look like higher quality even if it is all nothing more than a sham.

If the olde buggy rear suspension is still there, I hope for a disaster. They should at long last finally relent to common sense and go to coils out back to stop the forespring-wrapping and resulting hole-digging. But then mindless tire-burning is what the mini-brained buyers thrive on--while complaining about the high cost of rubber, of course.

This is an opportunity to 'shrink the baby', but no. Bloated heads don't see much more than this in the mirror while shaving, so why on the roads? Fewer pounds means less fuel, and often with a remarkably similar loading capacity. Just check out the 0.6L Japanese truckletts buried under all kinds of loads in much of the rest of the world. Then watch our so called 'news' with the dirt bikes, dogs and wives in the back of our 6000 PUs as they stream out of WalMarts with the latest versions of super-hyped diets.

What in the bleeding heck is wrong with us? Is our greed and constant demand for instant gratification a closely held secret, or as obvious as the inherent dishonesty of politics and attorneys, our rotten to the core legal system?

Gary Hetherington

May 21, 2008 12:02 PM

1. Ranger presently comes with three differential gear ratios..... Ford should be installing the highest ratio for the best gas mileage as standard with low speed ratios as an option. People don't usually buy Ranger for hauling heavy loads or plowing snow etc...
2. Ranger should have standard free flow exhaust and K&N high flow air filter system as standard for better gas mileage.
3. Ranger should have Ford Motor Sports computer option for POWER....STANDARD...or ECONOMY options.

4. Larger wheels as standard to fill out the fender well.

5. Harley version of Ranger.....a simple as a Harley hot rod Ranger.....black or black/Harley Orange
with leather seats .....rubber flooring.
Optional aluminum extension for Harley to fit in Ranger box ( to eliminate weight of bike on tailgate)


Gary Hetherington
1674 Wilsey Road
Rusagonis, New Brunswick
CANADA E3B8J2

GoToe

May 26, 2008 11:00 AM

For several years Ford was investing in trucks and neglecting cars. Apparently they forgot that the Ranger was also a truck. Ford responded to the marketplace and updated models but the Ranger still sat. If Ford had improved the Ranger, they would have been playing their cards right and would now be selling as many Rangers as the Focus. If everyone is trading down in size you have to have something compelling for buyers to consider. Ford could have been marketing the Ranger as the economical, affordable, practical and most up-to-date vehicle. Alas, opportunity missed. I wish Ford would remember that it's supposed to be a full line manufacturer.

Chris

July 9, 2008 2:44 AM

Boo to Ford, yay to Mahindra. I have worked in three different Ford dealerships over the years, and their most dependable vehicle they make is the Ford Ranger, yet like others have said, feel no need to make it a 45+mpg diesel or something as nice - no, they'lll end the production of it instead.

Stupid company.

jojo

August 7, 2008 10:14 PM

the ford ranger is the best truck i have owned 300,000 and have done only one major repair no rust and very little oil leaks and it will haul all of my tools and still getting 20+ mpg not bad for a 21 year old truck i think it is just a good truck my dad has had one since 1985 and still running i think ford is making a bad decision.

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