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Ford may be keeping the Ranger


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March 4, 2007
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Year, Model & Trim Level
95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4

Ford may keep building Rangers
U.S. production was to end in '09
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News
With record gasoline prices undermining sales of its full-size pickups, Ford Motor Co. is considering extending the life of its elderly Ford Ranger compact pickup for another two years, according to people familiar with the company's plan.

That would be good news for workers at Ford's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minn. The factory is slated to close next year when production of the Ranger is scheduled to end.

Under the plan now being weighed by Ford, the Ranger would stay in production until 2011 when a new global version is ready. That truck will be produced overseas.

The review of the Ranger is part of a broader rethinking of Ford's entire truck program triggered by skyrocketing fuel prices and a consumer shift to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

As The Detroit News first reported two weeks ago, the Dearborn automaker is planning on converting some of its U.S. truck plants to car production. It is also taking a hard look at every future product program.

Though no final decisions have yet been made, sources say the company is considering an indefinite delay of the SVT Raptor, a planned high-performance version of its F-150 pickup.

It is also likely to kill the new 6.2-liter V-8 engine that was supposed to power the truck. The ill-fated HEMI-fighter was originally dubbed "The Hurricane" and redubbed "The Boss" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Now, it may be yet another victim of high gas prices and changing consumer tastes.

Officially, the company would not confirm any of these developments.

"We do not discuss future product plans for competitive reasons," said Ford spokesman Said Deep.

But analysts said these moves make sense with gasoline selling for more than $4 a gallon.

"With high gas prices, the Ranger is looking a lot more attractive," said analyst Erich Merkle of IRN Inc., adding that he was aware that Ford was considering keeping the truck alive.

The Ranger debuted in 1982 as a 1983 model, replacing the Ford Courier. The truck has been lauded for its quality and capabilities, but Ford has not made a significant investment in the Ranger for more than a decade, leaving it to languish.

But at 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, the Ranger is the most fuel-efficient compact pickup on the market today. And despite going more than a decade without a significant redesign, it is still the nation's No. 2 compact pickup after the Toyota Tacoma.

Ford originally planned to end Ranger production this year, but agreed to keep St. Paul open for another year as part of its 2007 contract with the United Auto Workers.

UAW Local 879 President Roger Terveen, who represents workers in St. Paul, said the union has heard nothing from the company suggesting the plant could stay open beyond next year.

"We've talked with management and expressed our desire to keep it going," he said. "We think it's in Ford's best interest. The trucks are selling."

Ranger sales have posted a modest gain this year. The 36,421 trucks Ford had sold by June represented a 2.3 percent increase over the same period last year. That may not be much, but it is a lot better than the 18.7 percent decline in F-series pickup sales that occurred during the same time.

"Whatever they're selling, it's with zero marketing," said analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics. "And all of the tooling was paid off a long time ago."

However, Hall said keeping the Ranger alive is not without cost. The truck lacks side-impact airbags, which will become mandatory by the end of next year. He said the question that will decide the Ranger's fate is this: How much is Ford willing to spend to update a design that will, in any event, be replaced with an entirely new truck in three years?

Design work is already well underway on a new global Ranger platform. Codenamed T6, the new Ranger will be manufactured at factories outside the United States -- including one in South Africa, which is exempt from U.S. import tariffs on small pickups.

The Raptor may get a second chance, too. Ford also is said to be considering a high-performance version of the new F-100, a smaller version of the F-150 that it plans to produce at the Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne. Instead of being powered by the Boss, it would be powered by one of Ford's new EcoBoost gas-turbo direct-injection engines that promise more horsepower and better fuel economy.

"That would be a good move, because they're going to need to generate some 'wow' for the F-100 when it comes out," Hall said.

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I have bought a 98 and 04 Ranger, but I don not think I would buy one that is not at least assembled in the US.

Ford just does not get it. The ranger could be their truck sales savior. The platform works. It could be adapted to become the new bronco, easly. It could be equiped with a solid axle, and real off road capability.

Ford just does not get it.

Sadly that seems to be the most accurate explanation. Ford is trying to force the public into thinking they want a particular vehicle (example, the current sport trac), instead of Ford listening and responding to what the public really does want. Why they have let the Ranger waste away in the corner i will never understand. It's always been a top seller, what they've done is on the verge of attempted suicide. The least they could do if they keep the ranger around is bring the crew cab to the states. Don't the huge sales numbers of crew cab fullsizes hint at the fact that people want interior room in their trucks? Instead of wasting money on another guaranteed-to-fail crossover wagon whatchamacallit, why not put their money to something that will sell successfully? :fire::fire::fire:

I've been waiting for this one- I still think that half of pickup buyers that were running F150's could be adequately served by Rangers. And with gas climbing, it's a great solution. I loved my '99 and I'd own another one if Snowball melts. :)

I agree with mounty- why keep crowding the crossover market- everyone is there. Stop putting gizmos and gadgets on crossovers that drive prices over $35,000- except for something that wil let you tow something besides a jetski, and sell the Ranger for what it is- and maybe actually do some real improvements- that poor truck has been holding it's own for a long time on what it had 20 years ago- think of what they could have had if they put some $ into it.

The Ranger has been neglected for 10 years. I'd say it's due for a complete redesign and more focus. Ford and GM both are completely clueless these days.

They always do this, it creates controversey on these forums so people take notice.

We are stopping the Ranger, we are going to build another Bronco, etc etc

Why would you remove the best selling name plate you have???????????
They are not stupid
IMO if you are selling more Rangers then the competition is selling Colorado's then why stop making them again? Hasnt the Ranger been the best selling mid size truck for like ever? Yeah it would be a super idea to stop making the best selling product you have... dumb dumb dumb

Nice job Ford! Outsource and put more Americans out of work. I'll buy your Mexican POS trucks when hell freezes over. I think I might be driving my last blue oval if this crap keeps up.

...You think they could take a 95-97 Ranger chasis, set it up with a solid axle, and just update the darn truck...:scratch:

I could care less where it's built, if they build a Ranger that has 4x4 capability and runs 25-30 MPG in 2wd mode ewhile not towing but will tow 5-7,000 lbs., they'd sell the ever-living crap out of them. I laugh when you grive by the GM plant here in GR and there are Hyundais in the lot across the street- more and more foreign cars are showing up and the "GM only" lot is shrinking.

I'd probably be in line to buy a foreign Ranger. Honestly- whether you like it or not, if anyone is hanging on to the "buy American" thing, it's a long gone pipe dream, unfortunately.

...This is today's update on what Ford is doing...:scratch:...They are retooling truck and SUV plants for small cars, including the Festiva...:dunno:

...This is a 3 page read so at the comment area just click next...

This just beats me... Ford can have a whole bunch of great cars and trucks that they sell overseas but yet in the US they keep building old sh** and complain about gas prices... for some strange reason that sounds like crap to me. Here are the pictures of a FORD RANGER we drive here in Europe... new RANGER they call it. 3 liter diesel engine, 5 speed manual tranny... don't know about the front axle but it is 4X4 and it is Ford Ranger... I will stop by the dealer to see if I can get a brochure and take a few snapshots.

BTW I just drove a brand new Ford Mondeo a few days ago - that turbo diesel is just amazing - great pick-up and fuel economy... what a great car! and just wonder why they would not sell it in the States instead of an old bulky Crown Vix, ugly Taurus and screwed up Focus?


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Ford just needs to take the Ranger, make it a tad larger, and introduce a hybrid version of it. 99% of the people that I know own them, use them for daily drivers, make a version that is just slightly more expensive but with better fuel economy then any other compact truck their sales would most definitely go up.

People love Ford Rangers, you never see them for sale for long, or many broken down.


problem is for some manufacturers it's a bit too late. Ford and GM are gonna be the biggest loosers. Toyota, Honda and a few others got the picture a little earlier and look at their sales numbers. It was not that difficult to predict. Make them cars more fuel efficient and people will buy them. It's not about displacement anymore. It's not who's gonna make the biggest SUV or the biggest car.

Let's hope they can still turn around casue if they don't, well...

When I was looking at new trucks, it was between the Ranger, Frontier and Tacoma. Tacoma was out as it was way too overpriced. Ranger and Frontier were neck and neck. The Frontier just offered more for the money, better motor, strong transmission and the dealer was willing to work with me. They need to make some improvements to the Ranger to make it a better competitor, update the V6, compared to my 4.0 in my Frontier it feels weak and never really impressed me over the OHV in my Sport. Swap out the torsion bars and swap in a set of coil overs. What I like about the Ranger that I don't care for about my Frontier, the Ranger sits a good bit higher, tighter turning radius, and is a bit narrower. If they make just a few tweaks and adjusments, the Ranger could be a serious competitor.


...You think they could take a 95-97 Ranger chasis, set it up with a solid axle, and just update the darn truck...:scratch:

My understanding is the Ranger frames are all the same from 83 - 97. 2wd and 4wd. The only difference is wheelbase.

The good news is there will be plenty of spare parts for many years to come.

...UPDATE...This is only a portion of the story...Click on the link for the whole story..

...Ford has confirmed that the Ranger will stay in production through 2011 in Minnesota.

Ford adding new fuel-efficient small cars and crossovers to North American product lineup
Six European small vehicles coming to North America from global B-car and C-car platforms
Three large truck and SUV plants converting to small cars; retooling begins this December
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup to be almost completely upgraded by end of 2010
Ford plans to be the best or among the best in fuel economy with every new product in its segment
Hybrid vehicle production and lineup to double in 2009
Capacity for North American four-cylinder engines to double by 2011
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury confirmed in company’s North American brand portfolio

DEARBORN, Mich., July 24, 2008 – Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] today announced a significant acceleration of its transformation plan with the addition of several new fuel-efficient small vehicles in North America and a realignment of its North American manufacturing.

The actions represent a considerable shift in Ford’s North American product plans and investments toward smaller vehicles and fuel-efficient powertrains in both the near- and mid-term in line with rapid changes in customer buying preferences.

In addition to bringing six small vehicles to North America from the company’s acclaimed European lineup, Ford is accelerating the introduction of fuel-efficient EcoBoost and all-new four-cylinder engines, boosting hybrid production and converting three existing truck and SUV plants for small car production, beginning this December.

“We continue to take fast and decisive action implementing our plan and responding to the rapidly changing business environment,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “Ford is moving aggressively using our global product strengths to introduce additional smaller vehicles in North America and to provide outstanding fuel economy with every new product.”

Mulally said the company is more focused than ever on its transformation plan, which calls for:

Aggressively restructuring to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
Accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value
Financing the plan and improving the balance sheet
Working together effectively as one team, leveraging Ford’s global assets
“The progress we have made in working together to create a ‘One Ford’ global enterprise during the past two years gives us a unique competitive advantage in today’s environment,” Mulally said. “We are in a stronger position than ever to leverage Ford’s global assets to address the North American business environment. We also are building on the past few years of progress in continuously improving our quality, reducing our cost structure and introducing strong new products.”

Aggressively Restructuring
Ford will convert three existing North American truck and SUV plants for small car production, with the first conversion beginning this December.

The moves are in addition to Ford’s announcements in May and June that it is reducing its North American production plans for large trucks and SUVs for the remainder of 2008, as well as increasing production of smaller cars and crossovers.

“We are transforming Ford’s North American manufacturing operations into a lean, flexible system that is fully competitive with the best in the business,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We remain committed to matching our capacity with real consumer demand, and we are equipping nearly all of our assembly plants with flexible body shops, ensuring we can respond quickly to changing consumer tastes.

“In addition, we are adding four-cylinder engine capacity to meet the growing consumer demand, while expanding production of our new EcoBoost engines, six-speed transmissions and other fuel-saving technologies,” Fields said.

Among the manufacturing realignment actions:

* Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., which currently builds the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator full-size SUVs, will be converted beginning this December to production of small cars derived from Ford’s global C-car platform in 2010.
* Production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will be moved to the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky., early next year.
* Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico, which currently produces F-Series pickups, will be converted to begin production of the new Fiesta small car for North America in early 2010.
* Louisville (Ky.) Assembly Plant, which builds the Ford Explorer mid-size SUV, will be converted to produce small vehicles from Ford’s global C-car platform beginning in 2011.
* Twin Cities (Minn.) Assembly Plant – which was scheduled to close in 2009 – will continue production of the Ford Ranger through 2011 to meet consumer demand for the compact pickup.
* As previously announced, Kansas City Assembly Plant this year will add a third crew to its small utility line for the Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid.

not like "I told you so" but to be honest I was the first to point out that Ford has some great small cars in production in Europe - cars that they should be selling in the States. The entire crisis could be seen long time ago - instead of loosing $15 bln they could be making that much by now. It's kind of funny to look at the line-up of cars and trucks in America, lineup that has not been overhauled in ages and think "How could they loose the grip"... big, big, big and even bigger...

hope to see new Ranger show-up as well... that would be nice.

UK Ford line-up - UK Ford website

Hasnt the Ranger been the best selling mid size truck for like ever? Yeah it would be a super idea to stop making the best selling product you have.

The Explorer was the best selling SUV or over a decade. Ever see any Explorer ads anymore?? Are the new "improved" Explorers what people really want?? If so, why aren't they still #1 in their class? It has nothing to do with the tire fiasco, since the Explorer remained #1 long after that was over. It has to do with Ford's bean counters deciding what we want or don't want and their being wrong.:(

I think Ford must be hiring bean counters from their competition. That sure seems like who they're working for:banghead:

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...Very well said Rick..You took the words right out of my mouth...

...The decisions ford makes without considering the input from it's customers is just beyond me...This is probably the only industry that thinks they know better than the customer, what the customer wants...:rolleyes: