By on December 13, 2011

 

Ford makes great full size trucks, but repeat after me: not everyone cares about the F-150. There’s more to being a Ford truck than what Toby Keith and Mike Rowe said. Listen up peeps: this is a story of having a growth and retention strategy for one product line, and an exit strategy for another.

First, the Econoline: slated for replacement by the thoroughly modern Ford Transit vans, there’s good news for everyone. Well, except for every small-time rock band that would sacrifice a groupie for said Econoline with a 7.3L Powerstroke to cheaply haul their crew and a box trailer full of their shit. Full size vans need to take a page from Europe, without the nightmare diagnostic scenarios presented by the Mercedes Sprinter.  And here it is.

 

Well not exactly.  But I can’t resist posting a picture of the Transit Supervan 2, which proves that any love we feel for the Econoline is absolutely trumped by the love the world feels for the Transit.

One of my mates in the UK owns a small auto repair/MOT business, and he loathes working on the Sprinters, for all the reasons seen on a US-Sprinter forum. Ask him about the Ford Transit, ANY Transit, and his face lightens up.  The European workhorse everyone knows and loves deserves to be here, provided Ford makes all the Transit specific parts available, affordable and easy to service by anyone familiar with traditional US-spec vans. That is no small feat, but totally doable. I predict Ford will retain their title in the world of Van Awesomeness, and I look forward to meeting the replacement for TTAC’s first and only custom van review!

Then there’s the Ford Ranger debacle. People say it hasn’t changed much since the early 1990s, which is a load of bull. That said, most people don’t care about what engineers do under the sheet metal. So I get it.

The Ranger is slated for extinction next week. The truck that gave Ford the commanding presence in the compact workhorse market, the vehicle that still sells disgustingly well by anyone’s metric, is being replaced by…nothing. And unlike Panther Love, where “criminal” platform neglect (get it?) forced retail buyers into the arms of other manufacturers for the past 15-20 years, the Ranger is still good enough for a little truck.

And while my bias to the Ranger is clear, Ford’s rationale for abandoning the market is not. But let’s try anyway, shall we?

I once had a quote showing Ford’s decision to push would-be Ranger buyers into the (upcoming) Focus and Fiesta. Too bad I lost it. Luckily the B&B found it for me. And now the F-150 is thrown into the mix.  Ford thinks the base model F-150 will hoover up Ranger buyers that wouldn’t touch a Fiesta. It’s a similar rationale used when replacing the original Taurus with the Fusion and the Five Hundred. Which was a rather colossal blunder, but that’s not the point.  The Ranger isn’t the Taurus.  And to quote Erich Merkle, Ford’s U.S. sales analyst (via WardsAuto):

“Nobody has infinite resources, and we have to figure out how we can best position those resources to meet the needs of customers today and in the future. (The Ranger) has been pretty popular, but we think more of a baseline F-150 can also meet a good portion of those needs.”

And, in a fitting eulogy for the Ford Ranger, Jeremy Cato retorted, “Corporate-speak, if ever I’ve heard it.”  Read the whole article, it’s worth it.

Because he is right.  The Ranger does it all with a tiny footprint.  And while mere inches separate the Ranger from the Toyota Tacoma, the Taco feels much bigger, sucks down more gas, has poorer visibility and costs significantly more when you spec them out.  Along with freebies like fog lights, Class III receiver hitch, and four wheel disc brakes, my cheap-as-chips Ranger XLT surprised me with something else: a recent trip to San Antonio (tonneau cover equipped, A/C running, driving assertively) netted a robust 33MPG.  Try that in an F-150, or any other truck for that matter. You still think the Ranger hasn’t changed in 15 years, son?

Once more: thirty three MPG.  Tons of visibility and more chassis/suspension/powertrain refinement than you’d expect from an “unchanged since the 1990s” pickup.  But the sheet metal lied to us, and too bad what you see below wasn’t our ”forgive me” present.

 

But to be fair to Ford, I suspect importing/assembling the “other” Ranger in North America shall cost more than abandoning the people who won’t move to a Fiesta or F150. It’s always cheaper to do nothing and narrow your scope. That’s a totally fair business practice.

Profitability via Mutilation much?

So there you have it: two long standing models, two names with a famous-ish history and tens of thousands of fiercely loyal buyers…with two unique outcomes.

Oddly enough, my 33MPG trip to the Home of the Alamo is the silver lining: the nearby Toyota truck factory is standing by.  Just a guess, but expect them to ramp up Tacoma production another 50,000+ units annually to take up the slack left behind by Ford. And expect them to laugh all the way to the bank.

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79 Comments on “The Truth About Ford’s other Workhorses...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    Letting go of the Ranger? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ford may well rue the day. Toyota, go away…please.

    Like panthers, these trucklets will be around for years and JC Whitney will make a bundle off replacement/custom parts and accessories.

    • 0 avatar
      Szyznyk

      The Tacoma is replacing the Ranger as our small 4×4 fleet vehicle of “choice”, even if they have power windows and cloth seats. I, meanwhile, will continue to mourn the S10.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Agree that the after-market parts industry will make a bundle off replacement parts because the Ranger needs so many of them to keep going.

      The Tacoma needs far fewer replacement parts during its operational life-span and that’s why so many people who use these little trucklets choose to use Tacoma to outfit their fleets.

      A home repair contractor in my area with 12 trucklets has replaced his S-10s and Rangers with Tacomas over the years. He swears by Tacoma, not at them like he did his S-10s and Rangers.

      Not every one needs a full-size pickup truck or E-series Van. I see a lot of postal contractors in my area driving Sienna AWD mini-vans, delivering mail to the Rural Routes. They used to drive E-series Vans or the equivalent from GM or Dodge.

      Times are changing, and in many cases the foreigners or the transplants present a much better value in durability and reliability for the long haul.

      I don’t see Ford catching up to this segment any time soon, not even with their Turkish-made Transit Connect.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I’m sure the Sienna offers a great incentives just from the savings in fuel alone compared to the E-Series. The Transit Connect has been very solid from a reliability standpoint so far, but a lot of the mail carriers who work for post offices that don’t supply postal trucks use their work vehicle as their personal vehicle as well, and the Transit Connect isn’t the most accommodating vehicle for non-business use.

        I do think the Transit Connect would make a great option to replace the Grumman LLVs that the USPS currently uses on most routes though, and Ford already has them set up for RHD in other markets.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I once had a quote showing Ford’s decision to push would-be Ranger buyers into the upcoming Ford Fiesta. Too bad I lost it.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/ford-replacing-ranger-with-f-150-focus-fiesta/

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    Maybe we are just fortunate but our 2007 Sprinter 170 WB/High Roof has been very reliable and currently is in the low 300k mile range. Granted, this is 99% freeway as it’s a courier van but a regular ~20 mpg and far nicer drive than the American counterparts has left us satisfied. That V6 diesel engine/5-spd tranny combo is so smooth too!

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I just don’t get it. If customers want a product, and its development costs are paid off, and you’ve got nothing in line to replace it, and most importantly *it is profitable*, why stop building it?
    Replacing the dinosaur Econoline with the Transit is a good move. I think a modern, high capacity van with lower fuel costs is certainly the way forward. But ditching two whole platforms which make money (the CV and the Ranger) and handing the market to a competitor is DUMB.
    Essentially what Ford are telling its CV and Ranger customers is “You should buy this other product, it doesn’t do all the things you liked about the old product – and it costs more!”
    Customers don’t like being abandoned. It’s one of the reasons people have been walking away from the Detroit 3 for years.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Rangers (having owned two of them). But the driver/passenger safety hasn’t improved over the years (crash test results are pretty poor) and, I believe, this had a lot to do with Ford’s decision to kill the Ranger.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Ford is king of full sized trucks.
        Toyota is king of compact trucks.
        Neither is in a position to challenge the other at this time.

        This is what happens when the global economy melts down. Some things change.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      I don’t know if its the case with the Ranger, but I read that the Crown Vic was killed off because they literally wore out most of the tooling for it & would have needed to invest a substantial amount to re-tool for a vehicle that was doing them no favors in CAFE. Plus, the 4.6 Mod-V8 is no longer being used in any other car, having been replaced by the coyote, so either they would have had to keep producing those engines alongside their current ones, or re-engineer to fit the coyote.

      As far as the ranger though, I’m not really sure. Its two engine choices have certainly been replaced in every other vehicle though.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    There are some other intangibles that Ford probably doesn’t include in its spreadsheets. The Ranger is really the only vehicle produced in Minnesota. Minnesotans who want to “support the home team” go to their local Ford dealership. Now these customers have no reason to chose a Ford over any other carmaker.

    The Ranger was built in a paid-for plant with essentially free electricity provided by Ford’s private hydroelectric dam. If you can’t make money on a product produced in a paid-for plant, with paid-for tooling, a re-tooled collective bargaining agreement and free electricity, I don’t think you’re trying too hard.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope everyone reads that second paragraph. WOW.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Boneheaded move on Ford’s part. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Pertaining to Twin Cities:
      The dam was sold to the city. And the rest of the 2nd paragraph is why the plant’s production didn’t end in 2006-2008 when the rest of the Way Forward plan killed of Atlanta, Wixom, St. Louis, Norfolk, the slew of powertrain plants and Maumee Stamping. Don’t forget about Edison Assembly.

      The body shop is probably the last one which isn’t flexible in the sense it can build multiple platforms. So why invest in your oldest manufacturing site when you have so much open capacity still strewn about the country? It’s tragic, in the sense that the work force really broke the mold when it came to negotiating one of the most competitive labor rates in the industry, but I digress…

      Lots of great manufacturing sites and teams were dissolved. It’s a necessary evil to right sizing a corporation.

      As for the logic in not producing another variant in a flexible facility with open capacity, your guess is as good as mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      I think the situation was actually pretty similar at the Panther plant, save for Ford actually owning the power source. I don’t get it either.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Memo to Alan Mulally: Some of your loyal customers want samll vehicles with high practicality and great visibility. Don’t want to drive a monster F150 either. Bring back the simple Ranger.

    As far as your cars go, stop making them on Volvo XC90 chassis. They just look out of proportion. Stop hitting your small cars with ugly sticks. Good headroom and visibility are key.

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    I drive a 96 B4000 extra cab, and am still amazed at its potential. It has done everything I have asked for of it. The only thing it is missing in my mind is a set of rear doors. I don’t have kids to transport, and if I did, I would use my sedan. But the truck can haul, tow, and transport everything I need. The ride is bouncy but this is a truck, and I bought it as a truck. I am a Ford fanboy, but I just don’t get it. I don’t want a full-size V8 and a base F150 does not replace my B4000. I have not driven a newer Ranger with IFS, but I imagine it is not as horrible as it is made out to be. Facelift the Ranger, keep the 2.5L I4, and replace the 4L with the Duratec 3.7L (already fit for RWD duty thanks to the Mustang/F150) and you will finally solve 90% of Ranger gripes about the 4L (power and fuel economy).

  • avatar
    jeanpierresarti

    Sajeev, does your Ranger still put the clutch slave cylinder INSIDE the transmission bell housing like it did years ago. I remember a buddy of mine had to shell out 800 bones for that bit of genius engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      That’s the Mazda transmission that I presume has been in use until now. It was a terrible unit in my father’s 2001 Ranger, mediocre in his `02 F-150 and decent in his `05 F-150. I drive my friend’s 2000 Ranger from time to time and it’s truly an unenjoyable unit to row in her 150k mile truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought they changed the transmission by 2005-ish, but if they did it’s still the internal slave cylinder setup…verified by my 2011 Shop Manual.

      Oh well, hopefully it lasts longer than the clutch, so I can replace ‘em both at the same time.

  • avatar
    86er

    Are they fitting anywhere near as much cargo in the Transit as in the Econoline?

    Towing is a peripheral matter in many cases, but a consideration.

    According to sources in Ford quoted in pickuptrucks-dot-com, FoMoCo plans to keep making the E(conoline) Series for most of this decade.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Just bought another Ranger (this one a Mazda B2300 in drag) for $2000.

    They are an absolute cinch to finance.

    Stickshift? Doesn’t matter.

    Pre-historic 4-banger? No big deal.

    Rear seats made out of lunch trays? Who cares. You’re not sitting there.

    The Ranger and it’s Mazda ilk will remain solid used car values for many years to come.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    You must be talking about a 4 cylinder Ranger. I had a 2008 Mazda B4000 with the 4 litre six. What a pig on gas that was. I agree though, with all the new, more efficient engines Ford is developing, why not have small pickup in the lineup. The F-150 is huge now and the Tacoma isn’t much smaller. Also, the Tacoma is overpriced in Canada and hasn’t had much done with it in a few years either. A full size domestic makes more sense than a Tacoma.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed, mine is the Duratec four, and it makes the platform a pretty sweet ride. If only the Duratec six found in the F-150 was an option, the Ranger would be stupid fast and wicked fun.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        A Duratec 37 Ranger would really require a SVT badge. (Ford Ranger Lightning?)

        I’d go Duratec 25 and Ecoboost 2.0L for volume models. That would give a nice engine hierarchy from Ranger to F-150 to Super Duty.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I agree that phasing out the Ranger without an immediate replacement isn’t the best plan. However, the next F-series seems to be the product that will fill the Ranger void. Small six cylinder engines, seven or eight speed transmissions, and partial unibody design are all things we will probably see out of the upcoming F-series. This should make the platform much more flexible, giving Ford the ability to cover a wider range of customers needs and truck sizes, including Sajeev’s(at least Ford hopes).

    Maybe they’ll base it on the D3/4 platform. Then Ford can have a Taurus F and a Lincoln MKF.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I am happy that those in markets served by the Transit love them. I hope that I will too. That said, I hold a deep and abiding love for the E-series van. Many, many miles in a Club Wagon Chateau. It was one of my favorite cars ever. I have never understood why so many people pay more money for less room and utility in a big SUV. Oh well.

    So long as the Transit offers some real American torque, it should do well.

    I have never owned a Ranger, but I will miss them when they are gone. I think that Ford is making a mistake here.

  • avatar

    I’m pretty sure the Ranger much like the Crown Vic is being regulated out of existence with ever more stringent impact and roof crush standards.

    Still, it is baffling we don’t have the Australian Falcon range over here to replace the Crown Victoria nor the Australian Ranger to offer something new.

  • avatar
    nikita

    As Ford thinks it can put a Ranger buyer in a Focus or Fiesta, it also is delusional if they think police departments are going to buy the AWD turbocharged Taurus instead of the Charger or Caprice.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    call my logic flawed, but i would grab a f-150 for the sake of safety versus a tiny ranger. mainly out of worry of miss tootsy pop in her expedition texting on her cell phone. i agree and would love the cheapsake mentality, but i just couldnt sleep at night.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Your logic is flawed.

      I’ve owned a Ranger since 2002, and I like it. I won’t drive a bigger truck, though. I co-own an F-150 with a family member, and it’s a great truck — but it’s poorly suited to my purposes. The load-floor is too high to be practical, and it’s too big to park easily in the parking garage at my office. I can park it just fine, I just don’t see why I’d sign up for that much extra work every day of the week.

      Alas, I need a back seat and an automatic transmission for kid-hauling purposes, or else I’d buy a bunch of used Rangers to keep me going for a few decades. I’ll probably trade my Ranger for an Escape or something like that. I’ll miss the Ranger, though — it is right-sized and efficient little truck that has done everything I’ve ever asked for me. It’s also outlasted every other vehicle I’ve owned or tried to own since 2002. I won’t hesitate to buy a vintage Ranger or three if I need a truck in the future.

      BTW, the fear-based marketing of large vehicles just pisses me off. The safety “advantage” of large vehicles disappears if everyone buys them, and then we all just wasted a metric tonne of money and gasoline. Much better to just use the right tool for the job and step aside from scardy-mom automotive arms race. And the Ranger, as the smallest and most efficient truck, got me through every building-project, move, and adventure of my 20s.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …BTW, the fear-based marketing of large vehicles just pisses me off. The safety “advantage” of large vehicles disappears if everyone buys them, and then we all just wasted a metric tonne of money and gasoline…

        Amen. Common sense like this statement is pretty rare.

        Ford just made a massive mistake. There may be a few bad Ranger stories out there, but once you eliminate the internet tales made up by Toyota’s fanbois, you will find a pretty damn reliable and durable truck. As long as the Ranger sells, and continues to make profits, sell it! When sales drop to the point of not being viable, then kill it. I guess any upcoming regulations may make it not worthy of the investment, but until that happens, keep it alive. Fiesta, yeah right…

    • 0 avatar

      Its not really logic, its an opinion. I normally agree with your opinion, except I rather dislike all these new full size pickups. They are too tall and dumb to avoid much of anything, not to mention seeing anything on the road is nearly impossible. The center of gravity and horrible visibility are deal breakers.

      Plus, getting in and out of them is just silly.

      I’ll take my chances with the light, small, nimble and oversize greenhouse’d pickup. Ranger or last gen Taco, please!

      • 0 avatar
        johnhowington

        yeah the box sides for pickups are beyond impractical at this point. If i cant get my hand within a half food of the bed floor then i have to jump in the back, and with my glass knee’s i really dont enjoy it. I ran into a guy who actually LOWERS cummins pickups and it isnt for looks. I still stand on a bigger pickup for safety’s sake versus the tin can ranger. I respect its capability, but having 3 kids and a family changes my perspective from days of yore.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      How did you sleep at night 20 years ago when the vast majority of new passenger cars performed worse in crash tests than a 2011 Ford Ranger?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Ford isn’t alone in making questionable marketing decisions. Chrysler got rid of the Neon right as gas prices were climbing, leaving them with no real car in that class. Gm killed the Caprice RWD platform off allowing Ford to own the Taxi/police market.

  • avatar
    Marko

    It seems like safety standards had a lot to do with the end of the Ranger and Econoline. The Ranger was last redesigned in 1998, and the Econoline in 1992, and the basic design on both probably dates back even further! (Anyone know for sure?)

    Anyway, rollover/roof crush ratings didn’t exist in the 1990s.

    Edit: the Ranger’s safety ratings aren’t as bad as you’d think – it actually received a “good” in side and rear crashes from the IIHS, and “acceptable” in frontal and roof tests. (This is for the extended cab.) Still, fewer and fewer cars/trucks have “acceptable” IIHS ratings in anything these days.

    I’m glad Ford is replacing the Econoline with the Transit, but I’m not happy that Ford is basically abandoning a segment by discontinuing the Ranger. That leaves the “true” compact pickup segment open to competition from – who knows where?

  • avatar
    rodface

    33 MPG! How the hell does this get better mileage than a Kia Rio! And on the same Houston-San Antonio route I frequent! Did new safety regulations really kill this truck?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Torque, gearing, light weight, and obeying the speed limit.

    • 0 avatar

      I rarely went slower than the speed limit. When I arrived in San Antonio, I slowed down a bit. I made the whole trip on less than one tank of gas…and it was 33 MPG when I did the calculations.

      I credit the amazing number to having a stick, hard-ish tires and my tonneau cover.

      If I kept it UNDER the speed limit, ran non-Ethanol gas, a motor with a few more miles on it, and 100% synthetic fluids I suspect I could squeeze out another 2-3 MPG on this trip. Ya never know.

      **EDIT: I meant to say that the speed limit was the slowest I ever went on the highway. Not that I was a speed demon, far from it. The po-po never even wanted to pull my slow self over.**

  • avatar
    Banger

    Sajeev:

    I thank you, and the Banger Ranger thanks you.

    Mulally is a colossal knob for not finding a way to bring the “global” (and when we say “global” we mean every country EXCEPT the U.S. and Canada) Ranger to our shores.

  • avatar

    Getting rid of the Econoline is a no brainer, ungainly, thirsty and utterly prehistoric, bringing the Transit over is a smart decision.
    As for the Ranger I’ve always liked them and small trucks in general so too bad Ford is making this decision considering how well they sell, at least in Canada.
    But like the G&M article states, Canada is the 51st state when it comes to the NA car market.
    The sad truth is lots of Americans (and Canadians it must be said) will buy an F150, Ram, Silverado, Tundra etc, even when they don’t need something that big, and they’ll trot out all the same lame justifications, and Ford knows this.
    IIRC, full size trucks are still a license to print money and there’s way too many sheep keeping with the herd to change that outcome anytime soon, the B&B on this forum being the exception of course.

  • avatar
    SKUSA_boy

    Too bad the Ranger is being cut. However the Tacoma and Colorado are both MUCH better and cost about the same. The line in the original article about the Tacoma being significantly more expensive when optioned out is way off. The problem with the Ranger is that it is a 20 year old truck that costs the same as much newer designs from the competition.

    • 0 avatar

      If the Taco didn’t get redesigned in 2005, I’d agree with you. On the Colorado…no way. I drove the 5-cyl model, it was wretched in every manner. Even if the four banger is better, you couldn’t pay me to buy that over a Ranger.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Having driven my ’92 Ranger almost 6 years now, I’ve come to really appreciate it’s honesty and generally handsome, though simple good looks, I have to say, I’m going to be sad once the last Ranger rolls off the line.

    Though mine is just north of 236K miles and seems to leak oil and coolant and perhaps the power steering, it still runs fine otherwise.

    I have to agree, it’s mechanical heritage goes way back but even it’s been updated, but not in recent years and the 4.0L went OHC in the early oughts and perhaps that some of the last major updates outside of finally ditching the Twin I Beam front suspension and going with rack and pinion and finally adding a heavy duty version of the 5spd manual for the big 4 Liter motor but that’s largely it I think.

    I also agree that Ford was wise to finally put down the E series vans and replace it with the Transit but not having a replacement for a truck that still sells in decent numbers is just dumb.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Ford stands to walk away mega billions ahead after milking the Ranger for all it’s worth. Same goes for the Crown Vic and Econoline but why dump billions upon billions into an ever shrinking compact truck market currently at 4% of the total truck market? Half tons are about 70% of the truck market and are way more profitable so let Toyota, GM or who ever take the loss if it makes them happy.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My heart says Fiat Abarth…but with monthly campouts with Scouts, hauling rescue dogs and (eventually) helping to maintain two houses, I’m seriously looking at a truck. A small truck. I’ve no need for a large vehicle, and I keep coming back to the Ranger. It’s the right size for me, is priced reasonably and just comes off as, well, honest. I like that. And I still see plenty of them on the road, so that tells me a little something. It’s sad that we’ve Biggie-sized everything and feel we need something the size of an F-150 or Expedition…hmmm…maybe next year I’ll buy a 500 Sport with 5 speed manual and then find a nice used Ranger to handle hauling gear, dogs and mulch/trash/etc…

  • avatar
    Broo

    I own a 2006 Ranger long bed, 3.0L V6, bought used.

    As written in these articles, it does everything I need for cheap. It gets abused, carrying or towing stuff that many full size, though more capable, will never see.

    I think the F-150 or any modern full size for that matter, is just too big. The bed floor is way too high to be practical. When I come with arms full of firewood for example, the last thing I want to do is climb a step to drop it in the cargo zone. Very unpractical to unload stuff too, I couldn’t reach anything in the bed without climbing on something first.

    When I was shopping, the Ranger’s resale value was also a big plus. They sell for cheap, so they resell for cheap. Except for this Ford, all cars I owned were Toyotas and I have had a good experience with them. I would have liked a base 2WD used Tacoma, the suspension is lower while still having good ground clearance, smaller tires, therefore lower bed floor. However, Tacomas only come with 6′ maximum bed length and their resale value makes no sense. For the price I paid my 2006 Ford, a Toyota would have been a 1999.

    The Ranger I have has a 7′ bed, is very compact, bench seat with vinyl floor, perfect for dirty jobs. I got a 2WD even though everyone told me to get 4×4. I’m all for simpler stuff, and I go through winters just fine.

    Sure, the antique 3 litres is far from powerful or fuel efficient, but is reviewed as a robust engine, strong enough for my needs, and I have another much more fuel efficient car for everyday’s drive.

    I don’t see how I would carry all that stuff in a Fiesta, and everytime I drive my employer’s 2007 F-150 I think this thing is way too big.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Sad man. When I bought my 1996-2003 body style F150 (as a 2004 “Heritage” Edition, purchased 2 years used in 2006) I bought the last reasonably sized F150. If I had been able to find a used Ranger that wasn’t thrashed within an inch of its life I would have purchased a Ranger. However out here in Gallup, NM people actually use their trucks and Rangers are seldom treated like the garage queens that 1/2 ton trucks are.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    Not sure how Ford can complain that there is “no market” for a smaller pickup? The 2011 looks essentially the same as the 2008 and very similar to as far back as 1993. I know the trucks have been updated mechanically (OK, somewhat)but the F-150 is on its 2nd update since 1998, after being updated 1997.
    I’m new to the Twin Cities, but couldn’t part of the shutting of the St. Paul plant be that it is on some valuable real estate. the plant is in a really nice neighborhood , as opposed to the Chicago plant. The location there is worthless, near multiple abondoned businesses.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    When it was reported that Ford would drop the Ranger from their lineup, (maybe 2 years ago), I emailed Ford to register my disapproval. I received a reply from their marketing department saying that it was an unfounded rumor, and by the way, who told me ?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    For all of the apparent Ranger love on the internet I don’t see the evidence on the sales floor. Our fleet department does decent enough business with them, but still nowhere near as much compared to F-series trucks. As far as retail goes, it’s extremely rare for me to go a week without selling a F-150. I’ve had days where I’ve sold three F-150s. Rangers, on the other hand, are a ‘once every few months’ type of sale.

    The current Ranger doesn’t fit into the ‘One Ford’ global plan. The new global Ranger is close enough in size to the F-150 that it doesn’t make sense right now to offer it here, and redesigning the US market Ranger to meet crash test guidelines and to integrate the current electronics options is likely too expensive for it to make sense.

    The rear seats of the Ranger are fairly useless for anyone over 10 as is, so a regular cab F-150 is a good comparison. A regular cab F-150 with the 3.7 liter V6 can be had for near the price of a ranger, and it offers more capability as well as better fuel economy compared to the V6 Ranger.

    There’s no reason that Ford couldn’t start production of the global Ranger in the US if it turns out that most buyers don’t migrate to some combination of Fiestas, Focuses, Transit Connects and F-150s, but as it is the Ranger would be one of my first choices for vehicles to axe to clear up lot space for things that sell quicker.

    • 0 avatar

      It is not close enough in size to me, read this: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/03/grown-ranger-measuring-the-all-new-global-ford-rangers-size.html

      It is significantly bigger than our Ranger and significantly smaller than the F150. Which means, if we cant have the current Ranger’s footprint with all the goodies of a Focus…the new Ranger is still worth having to most of us.

      More to the point, you’d sell a lot more retail Rangers if you sold them with SYNC, new sheetmetal, new interiors, a ton of options, a 6-speed auto, 6-speed stick, duratec and ecoboost motors, etc. You know, all the stuff you cannot order right now. Hell even the Econoline has SYNC as an option!

      • 0 avatar
        play3rtwo

        I own a 2010 XLT Ranger 4Cyl Auto. Bought it new.
        I couldn’t even consider the F150 as it’s too large for my garage (and i’m not about to buy a new car and sit it outside)

        Ford really is going to miss out.

        I love my ranger, 25 city 30+highway, not to mention i’ve been reading on people dropping the 5.0L Mustang engine in them (and even the turbo 6cyl) and really making them interesting.

        The only other consideration for me would be the Taco, and if they offered power doors and windows for the base (you can’t get it unless you get the extended cab… really?) I would have bought one of them instead. (Styling was a little better IMO) but i’m still in love with my Ranger and will be driving it till it falls apart.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Nor does it help that a new Ranger is priced within a whisker of an F-150…and we all know that Americans think “bigger is better.” Ford completed neglected the Ranger. Period. End. With even a modicum of effort, it could have been (and SHOULD have been) a viable option for truck buyers who didn’t want the full-size pork of an F-150 NOR the near-full size price. There are plenty of modern powerplants that could have been dropped into a revamped Ranger that would have given it much better economy over an F-150 for a much lower price point. It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog for Ford, as they discuss lack of sales interest in the Ranger…and conveniently by doing nothing to update it, they directly are influencing the lower sales…self-licking ice cream cone, if you ask me.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog for Ford, as they discuss lack of sales interest in the Ranger…and conveniently by doing nothing to update it, they directly are influencing the lower sales…self-licking ice cream cone, if you ask me.

        Yes, and the media breathlessly/dutifully reports same.

        Apply same principle to all the other Ford products referenced in this discussion.

        Ford used to have f*** you money from 900,000 F-Series and before that the Explorer. The mind boggles to ponder where the funds were re-invested.

      • 0 avatar

        Four-banger Rangers are far cheaper in reality, the fancy pants sport models with V6s are another story. Ranger incentives are high, and the moment you start adding things to the F-150, the price skyrockets.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    I have a year old diesel Ranger crew cab. Tough as nails and greatly better than the US tin can. Sadly I cannot bring it in to the States.

  • avatar
    dhcobra

    I will also miss the Sport Track Explorer. In my opinion it is the perfect size for a small truck.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    My first two vehicles were Rangers and I still miss them. Unlike most I wish they had not updated them so much. I am probably one of the few that misses the Twin I beam frontend. I want a solid front axle in my 4x4s dammit. (though my 2 Rangers were 2wd as was my Bronco II.

    I wish Dodge would build a small pickup on the 4 door jeep platform. I know Jeep may build a version but I don’t want to pay the premium the Jeep badge will bring. Put the diesel in and it and I may come back into the big 3 fold.

  • avatar

    I will also miss the Sport Track Explorer.

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    Sajeev, I always look forward to reading your entries; especially when they mention Ford products.

    I will miss the Ranger and Econoline (already missing the Panther). I love your Ranger, Sajeev, and have entertained swapping the 2.3T from a fox t-bird, or slapping a turbo on the current Duratec just for kicks and giggles. The E-series? I lust after the Sportsmobiles with the raised roof. More capability and room than the VW Westys.

    Definitely curious as to how the Transit will fit into the American way of doing things…as for the Ranger Replacement, I definitely DO NOT need the big size of the F-Series. Safety? I don’t feel any more safe in the F-Series compared to the Rangers. Too much fluff I don’t need.

  • avatar
    LeadHead

    I love the Ranger (I have one), but it really has not changed much since the early 1990s. They’ve added 2 new engines since 1990. The 2.3 Duratec, and the updated SOHC 4.0.

    Chassis wise? The last major change was the switch from TTB to true-IFS in ’98. The rest of the Chassis appears to be pretty much the same as my ’87 Ranger.

    Just look at the interior. They have been using almost the exact same dash since 1995. The major interior differences between a 1995 Ranger and a 2011 Ranger? Steering wheel and instrument cluster.

    It would not have taken much to update the Ranger.

    • 0 avatar

      The rear suspension was significantly redone circa 2003. Even the beds don’t interchange. Active handling nannies became standard and all the interior wiring got a makeover around this time too. By 2011 they all had 8.8 axles and 4-whl discs.

      Those are two big ones that I know of the top of my head, but still…it’s all under that outdated skin.


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