• Sep 20th 2010 at 1:00AM
  • 162
If you live in the States, say goodbye to the Ford Ranger. The oft-neglected baby pickup from the Blue Oval is set to end production at its Twin Cities Assembly Plant in Minnesota next year, thereby kicking Dearborn out of the segment for the first time in nearly 30 years. The rest of the world won't be without a Ranger, though. Ford is set to pull the sheets back on the newest version of the global truck at the Australian International Motor Show next month, though released this intriguing teaser image in the meantime. It's bigger, slated for 180 markets spread all over the planet and it ain't for us. The question is: Why not?

In order to head that quandary off at the pass, Ford wanted to us in on its reasoning behind killing off the Ranger in the U.S. market. Derrick Kuzak, Ford's Vice President of Global Product Development, was kind enough to give us a few minutes out of his time to answer that question and more. Get the answers after the jump.

The official answer as to why the Ranger will no longer be available in America is that the new global platform is simply too close in size to the F-150. Kuzak says that the new global Ranger is 90 percent of the size of the current F-150 and that American buyers would just as soon spend a little more money for a larger, more capable vehicle. But if the two trucks are so close in size, why didn't the company take the F-150 global and do away with the Ranger all together?

"That ten-percent size difference does make a difference," Kuzak said. "Right-hand drive is required in the rest of the world and other regulations, both safety and emissions, impacted that decision."

But there are other forces at work, too. Kuzak notes that the compact pickup market in America has been declining for the past 15 years, dropping from eight percent of the industry in 1994 to around two percent today. Even so, Ford says that on average, it still sells around 75,000 Rangers a year. And that's on a platform that hasn't received a significant powertrain or styling update since 1993. The North American Ranger is about as zombified as a vehicle can get, and yet a good number of buyers remain happy to hop into a new one and take it home in favor of its brawnier big brother.

That said, Ford has conducted research that shows that the majority of Ranger buyers don't purchase the vehicle because it's a pickup. Instead, they come into the showroom looking for the least expensive, most economical Ford available.

"They were looking for affordable transportation. Within our Ford lineup today and increasingly going forward, we're providing them more alternative affordable transportation than we've ever done."

Until just recently, the doomed Ranger filled that role, but now that the Fiesta has arrived, the company expects to see even more buyers flee from the compact truck. Meanwhile, those that have their heart set on an actual work vehicle can turn to offerings like the company's Transit Connect van.

The new Ranger is simply too close in size to the F-150.
The final nail in the Ranger's coffin comes courtesy of the 2011 F-150, which will boast new, more efficient drivetrain options. Buyers will be able to outfit their massive pickups with a 3.7-liter, naturally aspirated V6 or a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, both of which will be bolted to a six-speed automatic. Ford hasn't released specifics on fuel economy just yet, but we're expecting the numbers to come close to embarrassing the 24.5 mpg combined of the 2010 Ranger while having far greater capabilities. And of course, the Blue Oval stands to make healthier margins on the F-Series than it would if it had to design a new model from the ground-up and sell it in smaller numbers.

All that said, as we've heard from many of our readers, even if the new V6 F-150 models net excellent fuel economy figures, some truck buyers say they simply won't be interested because full-size trucks are harder to maneuver and park. A few have even said they still feel wastefully profligate and unwieldy. And with ever-pressing CAFE standards and many U.S. consumers in need of a light-duty pickup to run trash to the dump or to snag a few sticks of lumber from the home improvement store, it feels like Ford could be leaving the compact truck segment at exactly the wrong time.

Sadly, we'll never know how well the Ranger would have fared if Ford continued its development, and while thoughts of a stripped-out truck with an Ecoboost four-cylinder, six-speed manual transmission and not much else has us giggling like hatters, the Blue Oval clearly doesn't think it can find enough profit in small pickups.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford made a big mistake by ending production of the Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car. These vehicles had a definite place in the car market. Despite a few limitations, there is no better police cruisern than the Crown Victoria. They can take a real beating during patrols. They are reliable and easy to repair. They are far more comfortable than the Dodge Chargers. About 85% of the Police market belonged to Ford. They will lose a big market share. Now let's talk about the end of Ranger Production. I have owned several Ford Rangers and currently own a 2000 extended cab. They are great rigs. Durable and reliable. They are the right size as well. I will not buy a big clumsy F series-now way.. I liked the style of the Ranger as well. Ford should have instead worked on improving mpg-they would have sold many more... Ford is going the same way as most everyone else. Penny wise-short sighted and pound foolish.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One less Ford on the road....I can breathe better already.

      I thought Ford killed the Ranger years ago, I never see em on the road.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The new Ranger sounds ideal. Ford will regret leaving the market to Nissan and Toyota.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We own an 09 Ranger and we love it...it is great for picking up things at Lowe's, taking rubbish to the dump and for trips. Why is it with the American car makers, they make something the people can afford and like and then they discontinue it....
      • 4 Years Ago
      these are by far the toughest little trucks on the road ive owned 10 of them.. from years 85 to 98.. then i drove my bros rotted out toyota ... haha what a joke!!he couldnt give me a toy! but he bought my 01 supercrew that hes loves and wants a guzzlin raptor now!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      There are still sales to be had in this segment and I can see both sides of the argument, but one thing people who are lobbying against the Ranger's cancellation need to remember is that this is far from the first time Ford has decided to vacate a market segment when purchasing behaviors dictated it. Remember the Aerostar/Windstar/Freestar? Just as minivans once ruled and now make up only a fraction of their previous sales, compact pickups are not a popular option in the US today compared to their standing back in the days when Baywatch ruled the TV ratings. If the market changes or Ford is proven wrong in its reasoning, we'll likely see a US-spec version of the new global Ranger make its way here, just like the Fiesta and Focus. I'd be shocked if Ford didn't develop the new Ranger with the option for US consumption hidden away in its back pocket.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am the proud owner of a 1986 Isuzu P'up Diesel Longbed -- 220,015 miles, and just had the first major part wear out - the timing belt. (I replaced the clutch at 150,000 miles, but that was a result of my pulling stumps with it - not the fault of the truck). Repaired at moderate expense (mostly labor), and hope to have at least another 150,000 miles out of it. It's a pity Isuzu pulled out of the US market, but it's understandable. If it doesn't wear out, it doesn't have to be replaced. Ford (of whom I own some stock) could have done the very same thing with the Ranger, but not many survive 100,000 miles without major repairs being needed. GM had the same opportunity when they replaced the LUV (an Isuzu in disguise) with the S-10, but also dropped the ball with low quality. Admittedly, almost everything that could go wrong with a LUV did, including the breaking of a floor stick shift in the one that I drove in the early 70s.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a baaaad move Ford! It will come back to bite you in the bottom! Well I am pissed, I always wanted a Ranger. Shame on you Ford. Where you that lazy as to not update it? would it hurt that bad? I don't think so.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford is really dropping the ball on this. Here's the reason I won't go up from a Ranger to an F-150: I physically can't get into one!

      I have limited mobility due to a spinal disorder, but I can slide quite easily into a 4x2 Ranger with no problem. Not so my dad's new F-150 (also a 4x2 model). It's a lot higher off the ground than earlier versions like my old '87 F-150 and it seems to be a good foot higher (give or take an inch or 2) than the Ranger, although I've not gotten out the tape measure to be 100% sure on that.

      Some folks with mobility issues don't want a car, and they don't want a van. I prefer my little pickup, but I guess if I want one from here on out, I'll have to shop elsewhere.

      Thanks for nothing, Ford.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or you could do what I see dozens of oldtimers doing with their newer Silverados and F-150's, drop it a few inches and problem solved.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What happened to One Ford? I mean, I read the reasons, and I get what they're saying, but 75,000 sales a year is better than 0 sales a year (not to mention, an all-new Ranger would surley result in increased sales). Not everybody who currently drives (and loves) a Ranger is ready to step into a Fiesta, Transit Connect van, or an F-150. Maybe the next-NEXT gen will be avalable here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The answer comes down to margins and scale.

        75,000 sales is in theory better than 0 sales, but not when 75,000 units doesn't cover the costs of developing and marketing the vehicle to US customers. That is the argument Ford is making here.

        I imagine that Ford's marketing research is pretty extensive on this subject, and with the "bigger is better" mentality of most American drivers, I can see why they came to the decision they did.

        But I do have a hard time believing that the new Ranger is 90% of the size of the current F-Series if it's truly meant for 180 markets. Have you ever been to places like Brazil, China, and most of the developing world? I can't imagine how something that large would make sense for those roads...

        • 4 Years Ago
        STUPID STUPID Ford
        They could have dominated a small truck market with an updated Ranger.
        They did NOTHING to promote this truck. With the trend to downsizing and fuel savings
        an updated Ranger would be a winner. The new Transit van IS NOT A pickup truck
        • 4 Years Ago
        Amen. I drive a compact pickup because I want a pickup; a Fiesta is in no way an acceptable "alternative." Yet, I don't really need that honkin' huge F-150. Guess when my current Ranger dies, I'll have to be looking at some Japanese line for another compact pickup to suit my needs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe I don't get it, but I'm just confused - why wouldn't giving the Ranger a 6 speed auto and a modern, efficient high-displacement 4 or small displacement 6 give the thing 30+ MPG, thus eliminating the "F-150 will come close to embarassing the Ranger's MPG".

        Update the powertrain (and the styling, it can't be that difficult), add a grand to the price tag, and watch the sales increase.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I suppose if the "rest of the world" is Australia, India, South Africa and England, then yes, right-hand-drive it is. So then what about the rest of the non-british-colony world?!

        I don't want a huge hulkin F-150 or 100! Don't know what I'm going to look forward to buying to replace my 93 SMALL truck.

        Ford abandons us, we abandon them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The simple answer is the the Ranger competes in sales with the F-150. Ford has got a rather lengthy time at the top of the best selling truck heap. Increased competition from other makers is threatening that title. A title Ford would rather keep as long as it can and at any cost. Even if they could sell twice as many new Rangers, they'd rather not if it meant loosing the best selling truck title.
        • 4 Years Ago
        *losing - dang it. AutoBlog no-edit comment system.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think thats why they need to continue with the F100 idea that is almost 90% the size of a full size, and 100% as capable with a smaller foot print. And make the Ford Ranger a unibody lifestyle pickup...

        I can't imagine that a Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier do it better then Ford Ranger after Ford created the market. Dodge Dakota will reinvent itslef and share costs with the new Jeep Gladiator/J8/Wrangler type truck or whatever its called... And Ford can't make a case???

        So I'll make one for Ford. The Mazda BT-50 is techinically a 1-ton pickup even though its compact... And a new one is coming, which is suppose to be a smaller F150 in essence or maybe a reskinned Global Ranger. That needs to be the basis of the F100. Main targets:
        - 48" clear between wheel wells
        - 1 Ton Payload
        - 7700# Tow Rating
        - Hopefully a small diesel, but again its the US so maybe optional...

        Second replacement Ranger needs to be based of the Ford Courier in Brazil. Its based of the Ford Fiesta (ie low price point) and will maintain low development costs to keep the ranger brand true to Ford's entry level vehicle with a truck bed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Very true. Thats like the entire police vehicle segment. And with the new offerings available its unlikely Ford will pull the same numbers with the Taurus and the Explorer as they are with the Crown Vic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the idea that right-hand drive is used in the rest of the world and that the ranger was the cheapest and most economical ford that people could buy previously are both complete and utter B.S. - and surprisingly bad B.S.

        Neither makes any sense what-so-ever.

        I think what he meant to say was that, "they were looking for the cheapest ford truck - and we think if we remove that cheap one and make the lowest price quite a bit higher for a base f-150 model then they will buy that instead."

        Or do I have it wrong?
        Is one of these new F150 models with the trick engines that best ranger fuel economy going to sell as cheaply as the ranger did?

        It's too bad that the ranger model completely precluded any use of new ford engines to increase the mileage of that model. /s
        • 4 Years Ago
        What one Ford? Every market gets market specific hardware, it's a smoke screen; a repeat of what they did in the late 90s, but this time seamingly executed better.

        I mean look at the fabric they put on the Fiesta! Haha.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, well maybe Ford ought to look at what Chrysler did to the Jeep Comanche. Ever since they quit making it, Jeep (and other) owners have been clamoring for a small Jeep pickup. Now Jeep is about to start one up again. Of course, without the Ranger, there will be a bigger market for a small Jeep pickup, whatever it's name!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      every manufacturer is making their small trucks bigger...and enlarging themselves out of a market. in the caribbean i have a toyota hilux (like an old tacoma here). the new hiluxes are getting bigger and bigger every year. i tried to buy a used ranger but couldn't find one so i bought a mazda B2500 instead. it's 11 years old and runs great. but they won't make that anymore either because it's is just a ranger with mazda logos on it...built on the same line as ranger. if i wanted a big truck i would have shopped for an F-150 but it would fill up my garage. a truck the size of the old ranger was great. ford is missing out on a niche.
    • Load More Comments