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For the entire month of December, Ford's plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, where about 1,000 workers assemble the Ford Ranger, will shut down. According to reports, it is normal for the plant to be closed for the week of Christmas, but an additional three weeks of downtime is necessary to "align production with demand."
The plant had initially been scheduled to be shuttered sometime in 2008, but the recent upwards trend in small pickup sales prompted the Blue Oval to keep it open a bit longer and it currently has no specific date set for closure, though it's demise is currently rumored for sometime in 2011. Perhaps if Ford would actually do something to update its long-in-the-tooth Ranger truck, it wouldn't need to consider its death at all, but that's another story entirely.

[Source: Reuters]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Being from the Twin Cities, I can tell you that more than one employee at the plant said on the news that it is going to be a "no gift" Christmas.

      Here is what would save the Ranger. The tooling has been paid for a long time...so the Ranger is a money maker. And the one thing that Ford needs right now is money (mainly because they insist on dumping money into the "failed 8 times over" D3 platform.

      So, keeping the body and interior the same...Ford needs to swap the engines. Get rig of the heavy drinkers that are in the Ranger now, and offer the 2.5 4-cyl and 6-speed auto. If you need a bigger engine then you could get the 3.5 V-6 with the 6-speed auto. INSTANT power bump and MPG bump.

      And if Ford really wanted to sell these and make money (which, based on last months figures...they do not), then offer a 3.0 diesel like Jeep did in the Grand Cherokee.

      ~235HP and 375 pound-feet of torque.

      The Ranger would be an overnight success.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford would probably use a version of the bastard engine mentioned before. This is a 3.0l four cylinder that would probably produce ~170hp to 190hp. A version of the Lion V6 (~207hp to ~230hp) or even the Lion V8 would sound great, but this engine is just too complex and thus too expensive to offer it in a work horse pickup. The Lion is a great choice for the Disco though.

        The robust sounds nice: A turbocharged Audi V6 (single soft turbo, low boost) would make for a great V8 torque feeling, a 200hp version of the I5 TDI could appeal to those more commited to towing and offer a better fuel economy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Ranger offers a lightweight aluminum 2.3L Duratec (143 hp compared to the next step up 3.0/148hp). They are dropping the Vulcan 3.0L in 09 though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live less than a mile from the plant, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies. Several times I've seen disguised mules drive by on the river road. Sadly I've never been ready with a camera.
      • 6 Years Ago
      it is good to shutdown the operation especially during the festival, to give more time to the workers to have a good rest.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's the link that I forgot with that post.

      http://www.pickuptrucks.com/html/otf0999.html
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Tundra outsold the Tacoma this time last year, but now the Tacoma is selling a little better.

      The only reason I think the Titan outsold the Frontier in September is because Nissan dealers are selling them both for about the same price.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No plans to bring the Thai Ranger to the US? We have this Ranger here in Europe and with the VM-Ford-Bastard-Diesel it is a really nice small work truck.

      http://www.ford.co.uk/ns7/ranger/-/-/-/-/-/-

      Here in Europe however Joe Plumber usually drives a long wheelbase Transit Connect and Bob Carpenter has a Ford Transit flatbed. These Thai Rangers are usually just found on large road building sites.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'd take that 3.0 TDCi over just about any truck currently offered in the US.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny how when gas prices go up people go from a Land Cruiser to a Rav4, but they won't go from an F-150 to a Ranger. You'd think they'd hop in a small pickup. Guilt by association? Do they just swear off trucks entirely?

      How are the Tacoma/Frontier doing on sales I wonder? Are they losing out on guilt-by-association as well?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Compare prices on full-size and mid-size and small-size pickups within in the same brands. You'll discover that the prices and fuel ratings are close enough that buying the smaller truck doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you live in a city.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @fixit:

        Actually, the 2.3L Ranger has an user avg. rating of 28.2 mpg on fueleconomy.gov. I've seen numerous reports of over 30+ mpg even with normal driving (and higher with hyper milling ~36-38 mpg). That with the cheap cost of a Ranger (got my XLT for $11,500) it's extremely cost effective. I get 26 mpg on my 5" LIFTED 2.3L Ranger consistently with 50/50 city/highway. I get even better during the fall and spring when I don't have to blast the A/C here in Texas. :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        The issue is that the people that actually need real trucks can't downsize to a Ranger, because it doesn't have a wide enough bed to haul full sheets of plywood or drywall, and doesn't have the load capacity to move dirt, cinder blocks, machinery, or tools. The people that buy F-150s so they can roll around in a truck won't downsize because it's style for them.

        The Ranger is a great little truck. My dad had two of them back in the 90s, but he hauls too much firewood, home supplies, and equipment to be able to fit them in a small pickup. Besides, his GMC 1500 gets 22 MPG with the 5.3L V8. His old Chevy 1500 had the 4.7L and got 23 MPG. Before that, it was a 1997 F-150 with the 4.0L V6, and he only got 16 MPG out of that. The Ranger, with the Vulcan 3.0L V6 and a manual got him 23.

        I'd rather have the big truck, too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nissan Titan 4WD:
        12/17

        Nissan Frontier 4WD:
        17/21

        Toyota Tundra 4WD:
        13/16

        Toyota Tacoma 4WD:
        17/22

        (I selected matching trim options: all extended cabs)

        Gee, I dunno. I think 4-6mpg on average matters pretty much wherever you go. 33% better mileage never hurt anyone.
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