The Ranger could be built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI, the Detroit News reported. Ford plans to move production of the Focus and C-Max hybrid to another site, possibly in Mexico. Ford announced earlier this year that it would lay off about 700 employees at the factory amid slowing sales of small cars.
The Ranger has not been sold in the United States since 2011, and the market appeared to be all but dead for domestic companies when Ford and General Motors backed out of it. GM, however, gave the segment new life last year with its Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, which are smaller than fullsize trucks, though still offer buyers plenty of capability for towing and hauling. Toyota also is launching a new Tacoma for 2016, and we expect Nissan to revamp the Frontier soon.
With factory capacity available and an opportunity to attract new buyers there for the taking, the Ranger would appear to be a natural addition to Ford's lineup. Still, it could eat into the highly profitable F-150's sales, which could give the automaker pause. Ford revealed a new Ranger (shown above) this year that will be sold in global markets – more than 180 – though not in the US. An Autoblog poll found 88.7 percent of respondents would like Ford to offer the truck in America.
While Ranger rumors swirled, Bloomberg reported Ford is considering bringing back the Bronco, an SUV sold in the US from 1966 to 1996. The popular off-roader could be positioned as a Jeep Wrangler fighter. The Bronco could also be built at Michigan Assembly.
News of the possible Ford products came as the company continued contract talks with the United Auto Workers. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away FCA US was detailing some of its future product plans to dealers in Las Vegas. The return of the Barracuda name was the hottest rumor, with Automotive News reporting it would be sold as a convertible and use an Alfa Romeo platform. In its past life, the Barracuda was a Plymouth, but with that brand shuttered, the car would return with Dodge badging.
OTHER NEWS & NOTES
IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies from injuries suffered at Pocono
IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered during a race Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. He was 37. Wilson was struck in the head by the nose cone that broke off Sage Karam's racecar when Karam crashed into the outside of the track wall. Wilson was driving through the debris field when he was hit, and his car then drifted to the inside wall. After the crash, Wilson was taken to an Allentown, PA, hospital. The native of England had seven victories in 174 races in the Champ Car and IndyCar series.
US Army picks Oshkosh to produce new tactical vehicle
The US Army awarded Oshkosh Corp. a $6.7-billion contract to build a new light tactical vehicle that will replace the long-running Humvee from AM General. Oshkosh was selected over AM General and Lockheed Martin. The new vehicles will be used by the Army and Marine Corps, and Oshkosh will start building them next year. The Wisconsin company will make about 17,000 vehicles under the initial part of the contract. They come in two- and four-seat variants.
Used car prices hit record high
The average price of a used car in the US rose to a record high of $18,800 in the second quarter of this year, according to Edmunds.com research. That's up $1,300 compared with the same time a year ago. The company points to cars coming off leases for creating a market of "near-new" vehicles. Pickups, which have become increasingly loaded with luxury features, are experiencing the strongest price increases, while car prices are declining. The average age of used cars sold in the second quarter also dipped slightly to 4.5 years. Meanwhile, certified pre-owned programs are showing strength, and Edmunds said a record-660,000 CPO vehicles were sold in the quarter.