As record fuel prices leave automakers' carefully-laid truck plans looking as if they've been bombarded by a squadron of B-52s, an unlikely survivor might poke its head through the wreckage at Ford: the Ranger. Originally slated to be given a gold watch, a pat on the back, and then shown the door in 2009, the Detroit News reports that the current Ranger might live on until 2011, when its new global replacement will be ready. Attractive fuel economy and good sales numbers -- the Ranger is the #2 compact truck behind the Taco, even though opening the door to the Ford is like stepping into a time machine to the 1990s -- might be the current Ranger's saviors. Salvation is not completely assured, however. Some investment would be required to keep Ranger alive no matter what, as the current truck doesn't have side airbags, which are required after 2009 (this was probably one of the reasons it was slated to die off then in the first place). Is spending money on the Ranger to extend its life just two years in Ford's best interests? Bean-counters will decide. In case you haven't noticed, they've been doing a lot of deciding, lately.

[Source: Detroit News]