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When you're within spitting distance of the Motor City, you've got to defend your turf.

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The Ranger pickup has been an integral part of the Ford truck lineup for decades. But later this month, that will cease to be – at least here in the States. That's when the very last Ranger will roll off the assembly line in St. Paul, Minnesota. And what do you know, it's already found a buyer.

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2010 Ford Ranger – Click above for high-res image gallery

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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."

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There have been a lot of promotions in recent years to encourage people to buy new cars – green and otherwise – in the United States like zero percent financing and tax credits. Now, GM is offering buyers of their 2006 and 2007 FlexFuel models a $1,000 voucher card to buy fuel. Green Car Congress estimates that’ll be a little over 5,000 miles in a Tahoe.

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If Ford decides to broom the company's Highland Park complex in 2008 as rumored, the Twin Cities want to be ready. Instead of Blue Ovals, local officials are thinking Olympic rings.

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Mark Fields revealed last week during his update speech detailing Ford’s progress with its “Way Forward Plan” that two Blue Oval plants will be idled in 2008. The two plants affected include the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, MN and the Norfolk Assembly Plant in Virginia.

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