Ford reportedly considering small unibody pickup

Ranchero revival? Courier special delivery?

In a future where Ford is focused on trucks and SUVs, it stands to reason that it would expand its portfolio of each. On the truck front, what more can be done? One possibility is a return to a vehicle of the past — a car-based pickup.

Automobile magazine is reporting that Ford is working on a compact pickup based on the next-generation Focus platform, and though it's being planned for Europe and elsewhere, it could come to the U.S. market in 2022.

It would be bigger than the Brazilian Fiesta-based Courier subcompact pickup, which was produced through 2013 but smaller than the upcoming Ford Ranger — perhaps more like the Aussie Falcon ute (shown above). Unibody vehicles cost more to build, so it wouldn't be quite the profit center as the F-150, which is selling so hot right now it might set a record this year. But the little truck would be an offering that GM, Ram or Toyota don't currently have. In a world where full-sized pickups cost more than a lot of cars, midsize trucks like the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma are slightly more affordable alternatives and are selling well. An even smaller, less expensive option might do the same.

And as part of Ford's plan to cut traditional cars from the U.S. market, including the Focus sedan and hatchback, it's also not surprising that a Focus-based truck alternative might find a place in the lineup, alongside the Crosstrek-challenging Focus Active crossover. When Ford announced its move away from traditional cars, it offered assurances that it would still offer affordable vehicle choices.

The likely place of manufacture would be Ford's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, so what happens with tariffs and NAFTA may have some bearing on whether the U.S. gets the little truck.

Courier is a name Americans may vaguely remember. Ford used it here on a Mazda B-Series truck in the early 1970s, a competitor to the Chevy LUV. Automobile ended with a suggestion to ditch the Courier name, which does sound a bit too much like a delivery truck. So meanwhile, back at the Ranchero ...

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