By on October 6, 2014

1024px-Ford_Ranger_3.2_TDCi_Wildtrak_Doppelkabine_(III)_–_Frontansicht,_14._April_2013,_Düsseldorf

Ford is said to be mulling a smaller pickup to slot beneath the F-150, plucked from their existing global product portfolio. One thing we are sure of is that it won’t be the new “global Ranger” sold in world markets.

Despite the relentless insistence of enthusiasts, Ford’s new Ranger will not be sold here because it is simply too big. Calling it “90% of the F-150 size”, Ford’s Dave Scott told USA Today that the new truck would be a true small truck, rather than something mid-size like the new Chevrolet Colorado.

“We’re looking at it. We think we could sell a compact truck that’s more like the size of the old Ranger, that gets six or eight more miles per gallon (than a full-size truck), is $5,000 or $6,000 less, and that we could build in the U.S. to avoid the tariff on imported trucks,” he says.

And there lies the problem. How do you find a product cheap enough to sell at such a price point (the F-150 already starts at around $20,000), and then amortize the cost of producing it in an American factory and homologating it for FMVSS standards while still making a profit? Oh, and there’s the whole CAFE thing as well.

Despite the insistence of the internet small truck brigade, the case for the small(er) truck is largely predicated on desiring variety for its own sake. The obstacles to profitability are extremely high, and there aren’t enough customers demanding a small truck to make the exercise worthwhile. The alternatives are to bring a unibody “lifestyle truck”, as Ford is exploring, or letting your current mid-sizer sit on the vine for years, sans updates, as Toyota and Nissan have done with the Tacoma and Frontier. In Nissan’s case, even developing something affordable for North American consumers on a long amortized platform was deemed to be an economically unfeasible proposition, thanks to burdensome regulations and weak demand.

The alternative is to task a risk, listen to the cheerleaders and bring out a new mid-size truck…and then have your dealers upsell potential customers into a more profitable full-size truck that also happens to have four-figure rebates attached to it. Don’t think that’s going to happen? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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159 Comments on “Ford Mulling Smaller Pickup, But Global Ranger Is Too Big...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    “(the F-150 already starts at around $20,000)”

    The cheapest, bare-bones, rubber-mats, black-bumper, regular-cab, short-bed 2015 F-150 XL is $26,615 after destination.

    “The alternative is to task a risk, listen to the cheerleaders and bring out a new mid-size truck…and then have your dealers upsell potential customers into a more profitable full-size truck that also happens to have four-figure rebates attached to it.”

    What I still don’t understand about this is why people are so willing to deal with the hassle of a full-size truck as a daily driver. They’re huge! They don’t fit in lots of parking spots, and they don’t fit in many garages. I don’t need a ton of payload capacity or 10,000 pounds of towing, and I’d pay MORE money to have a truck that would fit in the garage than one I have to park out on the street.

    • 0 avatar

      You can get a bare bones 2014 (2015s are not on sale yet) for around $20k.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I think part of Ford’s goal is to change that. Selling full-size trucks for $20k isn’t a sustainable business model from any perspective. Ram is really the one driving prices down right now, as they try to build up market share.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Where? in the US MSRP is $25025.00 for a bare bones 2014 F-150

        http://www.ford.com/?searchid=35041264|1184032024|13077970&[email protected]:20141006181719:s

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yes but that is the sticker price and the sticker price does not reflect transaction prices in the full size pickup world. It is typical to see significant discounts. $5-7K is not unheard of.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            There are no discounts, rebates or incentives listed officially on the Ford site for the F-150, so you’re dependent on your negotiating skills only to get a better price. Some may get a better price, some may not. Hardly something you should rely on when shopping for a new truck

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            There may not be any discounts or rebates on Ford’s site right now but there have been on and off all year. My guess is that they have pulled them back for now because they might be concerned about having inventory while they have shut one of the plants down to retool for the new model. There may also be the direct to dealer incentives that you don’t see on the site but are still present and will be passed along to the buyer. Usually those type of discounts are based on the volume sold in a time period so they usually get passed on so they get to the next level of discount.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            OEM websites are not good sources for incentives data. You’re better off using a third party, such as Edmunds.

            At the moment, there are $500-1000 incentives and 1.9% financing.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Still nowhere near the $20K Derek was suggesting

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I was commenting only about how to get incentives data, not on the vehicle pricing.

            And no, I’m not seeing F-series trucks with MSRPs of $20k, either.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Use cars.com for pricing information. You can buy an in-stock, brand new 2014 F150 for $17K, F150 XLs for $17,500.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Yeah, but who buys “bare bones” anything nowadays?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        $20K isn’t MSRP though. And really, while you COULD get one of those appliance white uber-stripper work trucks, reality is almost no one who isn’t a corporation does. The trucks that people buy are in the $30K and up (often well up) range.

        I can’t believe there is not a market for something better than an ancient Toyota or Nissan (and they ARE ancient) with a modern engine that gets decent mileage for a bit less than a similarly equipped full-size. Especially as the full-sizers ARE going to get more expensive, if not so much at MSRP, then at least at ATP. I cannot see Ford giving the historical discounts on the MUCH more expensive to build aluminum trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          That is what we will have to wait and see. Ford has admitted up front that the slight increase in the MSRP of the lower model trucks does not reflect the additional cost of making the new truck out of aluminum. However the higher trim trucks have a much higher price increase w/o a host of added features. By my rough calculations they only need to sell one high end model for every 3-5 of the low end models to make it a wash profit wise. I’m certain that Ford is hoping that they will not need to continue the discounts at traditional levels with the new truck. On the other hand Ford sees this as a future ready step to be able to meet the 2025 CAFE standards which if not meet would mean fines that would cut the overall profit.

          While Ford won’t give specific details in the grand scheme of things the AL truck is not MUCH more expensive to build. What I’ve seen suggests around $750 per truck on average. The materials that go into a vehicle are the smallest of all the costs. Assembly labor and development (design, certification and tooling) costs are where the bulk of the money goes. Yes they had to invest in new tooling but they would do that for any all new model and the dies to stamp a piece of aluminum vs steel are not going to be significantly different.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Bingo. The full size trucks have grown too large for many parking spaces, garages etc. The Ranger is right sized, I wouldn’t want some puny remake of the 1980’s Toyota pickup. What I’d be interested in is a truck with slightly better mileage that would fit in my garage. Even the new Colorado/Canyon is just a bit too long.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Whoever figures this out get my money, my ’02 Dakota Quad Cab isn’t going to last forever. And whatever I get next has to fit in the garage. My only concern is I still need towing capacity so this baby-F150 can’t be some FWD vehicle with a bed molded onto it.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Puny? is that why they’re still running after all those years and miles?, That is when they don’t rust out.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        slance66, the global ranger is “Wrong Shaped” for the US market. It’s almost as tall as current full size pickups, but it doesn’t appear to have the desired 48 inches between wheel wells to haul American building material. The missing vehicle is a modern Ford F-100. http://www.dfwmustangs.net/forums/showpost.php?s=b2ba870c90cb1dda735fff0678b2aca7&p=894875&postcount=185

        A 21st century F-100 would have a shorter hood and longer cab with more windshield rake. The wheels would be pushed out closer to the corners of the vehicle to increase the footprint for EPA calculations. The excess body overhang of the classic shape would be trimmed back to current market expectations set by BMW. It would share engine choices with the Mustang. The resulting vehicle could work as a “shop truck” in its striped down form or as a “sport truck” at higher trim levels.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @George B.
          Easily do it with a Utlity bed. Pickups used as. “Trades men’s Utes”do not have Pickup bodies, in Australia. That is a lot of Vehicles Even the occasional F250/F350 used as a Ute has a Utility bed

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @George B,
          I really do think it’s a bit of a misnomer that the 48″ is required between the wheel wells when most beds are only 6′ long.

          You comment did have some credence 30 or 40 years ago. But not this day and age of the SUV with a balcony.

          The US isn’t the only country that uses sizes that you speak of. Even in the metric nations 1200mm is the norm.

          Also, 50% of pickups are sold as SUVs, 50% for business and of those business pickups most are just a tax write off.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            In the grand scheme of things no where near 50% of the trucks are sold for business use in the US, can’t be more than 25% and probably much lower than that.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        slance66, that is exactly my feeling.

        The Colorado is too long for my garage. The old, truly compact Japanese trucks are smaller than I’d like. A truck that is in the 100″-105″ length range would be ideal. (I think the shortest Colorado will be 110″.)

        I don’t need 7000 lb towing capacity. I don’t need 90% of a full-size. I need something to haul sod, mulch, saplings, bikes, camping gear, or appliances. A modern Ranger shouldn’t have a problem besting an F-150’s 18 mpg by 30%.

        It would seem fair to start F-150s in the mid to high 20s and a new Ranger in the low 20s.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Whoops, I totally dumbas’ed those lengths.

          A truck in the 200″-205″ length would be ideal. The new Colorado is (minimum) 212.7″ without bumper. (Who measure length without the bumper? And how much does the bumper add?)

    • 0 avatar

      You must not live in Texas. Their parking spaces are bigger. Garages are larger. Trucks are a way of life in Texas and they build for them.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Fine, but there are 49 other states where people buy trucks too.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          Most of the standard “builder’s grade” garages I’ve seen in the Dallas area are not large enough for both a full-size pickup truck and another car. Larger garages happen because the 1st owner of the house paid extra for a custom larger garage.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            This is exactly the problem my buddy has. He bought a new construction house, of course he never thought to ask how big the garage would be, or measure his truck. His F-150 doesn’t fit. It’s a crew cab with a 7′ bed. Even nose to the front wall, the garage door won’t close. He’s interested in the Colorado, but if it won’t fit in his garage, it will be an S/CUV and a utility trailer. Which makes FAR more sense anyway. And he is one of those super annoying people who drives a truck for no good reason and incessantly complains about the lousy gas mileage!

            The garage full of stuff, cars parked in the driveway thing isn’t really a thing here in Maine. People park their vehicles in the garage. Climate makes a big difference. Chipping ice off your windshield 20+ times a winter is really no fun at all. Seems to be true in most cold climate areas I have been.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            krhodes1 just gave the answer I’ve been giving for a while. SUV and utility trailer. Got tired of the dog slobbers and pilfered bed contents. I’ve done it both ways and ended up using a trailer even with the pickup actually. Harbor freight and northern tool will even sell one that collapses.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Many harbor freight products will collapse.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I’ve had a Harbor Freight 4×8 folding trailer for 13 years. Best $250 I have ever spent. It IS getting scarily rusty now, but it has spent 13 Maine winters under a snow bank. I went in halves on it with a buddy, we both have treated it like someone else’s rented mule. He even used it to drag firewood out of the woods. So its pending retirement is well deserved.

            Harbor Freight sells stuff that is junk, and they sell a few diamonds too. The trick is being able to tell the difference.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            @krhodes1
            Truth. I have bought great stuff and crap there.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        Not all of Texas. While house shopping recently I was surprised at how in most *new* homes in our area, where most family vehicles are F150s and Tahoes, the garages are still being built too small for either to fit in. If it’s a two-car garage, at least one of them is made to park out in the hot sun.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        When I went to Texas in May, I was surprised how narrow many of the streets were. I was expecting the roads to be Texas sized, where every lane was twice as wide as a Michigan lane. In some spots I felt like the road was designed for Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Blue Brat – I don’t know how “custom” 8ft and 16ft wide, garage doors are, but go to The Home Depot site and all they offer is 16×7, 9×7 and 8×7 garage doors. Anything else would have to be “custom” made.

        I’ve never personally seen garage doors less that 8ft wide. Unless you’re talking about tool sheds. Or “garages” built during the Colonial Period.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I live in Texas, and no, garages are not big enough. A friend of mine bought a an F-150 recently, and we did a bit of research. It appears the truck & standard garages are sized within a half in of each other. In my book, that doesn’t fit.

        Many builders do have options for extended garages that add another 3′, but few houses have them. Also, the standard (read: cheap) garage doors are typically the narrowest they can find. Full size trucks without retracting mirrors won’t fit width-wise, and some probably don’t fit height-wise, either.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      This I-must-park-my-truck-in-my-garage crowd seems to be an internet forum phenomenon that barely exists in the real world.

      If this must-garage-it buyer pool was a compelling market segment, then it would already be served right now and large truck sales wouldn’t be what they are. It’s fair to say that many of these buyers simply don’t give a s**t about this garage angle.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Of course it’s an internet phenomenon. What I’m saying is that I find that a mystery. It is really inconvenient, particularly if you live anywhere other than an exurb where every house is on 2 acres, to not be able to park your vehicle in your garage. And then there are parking lots and street parking, where today’s full-sizers often don’t fit either. Yet hundreds of thousands of buyers a year just don’t care.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A lot of people use their garages for storage and whatnot. Using it for parking is not a high priority.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It always flabbergasts me when people are willing to deal with hot seats and controls in the summer, scraping frost and brushing snow in the winter, bird poop, and premature aging of paint and rubber on an everyday basis just so they can store a bit more junk they don’t use.

            Parking in a garage or at least a covered carport is a huge quality of life enhancer.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            I’d rather scrape the frost and snow than deal with the rust from the perpetual freeze and defrost that garage parking means in many areas. My car wintered outdoors at Fort Drum so it was a fair amount of snow but it still beat rusted to hell rocker panels on the Miata.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m with you Dal. However, we seem to be in the minority. On my dead end street there are 18 houses. Evenyone has at least two cars and everyone has a two car garage. We are the only house that puts two cars in the garage. Everyone has garages full of crap. None of them are organized work spaces either. When all of our basements flooded in August, I found out that all of their basements were full crap too (figuratively for most, others actually had poo in the basement).

            My garage is detached and not heated so I don’t get the freeze and thaw cycle many deal with.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Only in America do we fill our garages with junk and park our $50K cars outside… :P

            I am incredibly thankful during MN’s 5-month winter that our old dairy barn has room for my car.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @dal – That’s simply bunk. Fullsize pickups are everywhere in big cities. Same with fullsize SUVs. Public parking garages have plenty clearance too.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I know they are. I can see them. I just don’t understand how anyone puts up with them.

            I live in Seattle. I’ve lived in eight different apartments, condos, and houses here over the years, in different neighborhoods, since I graduated college. Every one had at least one garage or carport space. Not a single one would have fit a full-size pickup, except possibly for my current garage, where you could get the truck in (with mirrors folded) but then you wouldn’t be able to get out except through the slider.

            I also spent five years in DC, where I had one space in a public garage where all but a couple of the spots would have been too small for a full-sizer and one off-street spot that just barely fit my G8.

            In every case if I had owned a full-size truck I would have had to park it on the street, often in parallel parking situations where most spots aren’t as long as a full-size truck.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @dal – There’s a lot of wiggle room built into parking spaces (including curbside) and garages, otherwise driver of midsize cars and trucks would be able to cope. Parking space is designed for the most inept among us. Piloting anything fullsize isn’t for everyone and it’s outside most driver’s comfort zone. Imagine driving a transit bus around New York City at rush hour. It’s just a matter of perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Maybe in Denver. In Boston, I can’t even get my little bitty old Range Rover into most of the private building garages, and not a few public ones. And that is with lowering the air suspension all the way. If you can get it in, it costs significantly more. I even got turned away from a lot in Portland this summer because they called it too big. Good luck with a real truck.

            Not everywhere has wide open spaces. Of course, reality is that private truck ownership is a suburban and rural phenomenon for the most part anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s called the Uniform Building Code. 6’8″ is the minimum height/clearance for public parking garages. My 4X4 F-150 with 33″ tires and 2″ leveling kit fits with room to spare. I’ve parked it in Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, parking garages. Many cities in between. And next to F-350s with the same. How do you think they get tow trucks in public parking garages???

            It’s just overstated. People should say THEY could never drive/park a fullsize anything, in a big city. I’ll say it takes slightly more skill than a compact, if it’s an extra cab+, fullsize. But completely doable. My mom does it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @dal – If and when parking spaces get too narrow for fullsize pickups and SUVs, typical drivers of midsize cars/SUVs/pickups will be the 1st to complain. Even if they’re not fat/old. This b/c those vehicles would fit too snug at that point. It would be beyond their comfort zone if what you claim was true. Any tight parking spot where a midsize fits, l can park my F-150 with room to spare.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Yeah, they were all over that Uniform Building code when they built some of the old brick buildings with private underground parking in Boston. And some of the public garages as well. I have been in parking garages in Boston where I had to watch my head on pipes, at 6’2″. With the Rover in its normal suspension position, it’s taller than I am.

            You people out west seem to think the whole world is wide open spaces. It isn’t. Yes, you can manage with a gigantic vehicle in the old city. I have driven (and parked) tour buses in downtown Chicago (which is wide open spaces compared to Boston). Doesn’t mean I WANT to, it’s a PITA.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Every day I thank Gawd I don’t have to park under 100+ year old brick buildings. But it just comes down to what you feel comfortable with. And most drivers feel like they need more room than they actually use. They freak when I come within 4 ft of their hatchback, at 20 mph. Their panicked look says it all. Priceless. But fullsize pickups and SUVs aren’t much bigger than midsize vehicles. Most of the difference is in your mind. Even Vulpine will testify midsize is the new fullsize. A lot of noise over nothing. And those that drive fullsize vehicles in big cities everyday, will attest it’s well worth it. And you don’t even notice the small difference, once you adapt. I’d never compromise. Big city or not.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DenverMike

            If you think a full-size pickup is not much larger than a mid-size car, you are out of your tree even more than I already thought. The difference is measurable in feet, not inches.

            I really don’t know why I even bother replying to your nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @krhodes1 – Midsize cars, not as much, except for simple width. I just drove through the Chevy dealer, looking for Colorados, and with every grouping of Silverados I spotted in the distance, I thought for sure it was the Colorados surrounded by midsize GMs.

            Silverados have shrunk, compared to midsize offerings, especially SUVs. I’m not talking about the length necessarily, but the dealer was stocking an abnormally high ratio of regular cab Silverados. Could be many reasons for that, but I’m feeling r/c fullsizers will be making a strong comeback.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It goes beyond “park-in-my-garage”. It’s more like park-anywhere-with-a-garage-space-as-a-gauge-of-a-typical-parking-spot. Full size pickup trucks are comically huge and impractical for not much more than hauling payloads and trailers. And yea I get that everyone has the right to a choice. But by the same token I have the right to make fun of bad ones. Full size pickups in cities are just stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Here is seems to be one parks in the driveway and the other in the street. *shakes fist at jerks creating a blind corner down my street*

      I often drive a F250 long bed crew cab with a big-ole ranch hand bumper and oversized tires for work. You get used to parking after a while and it becomes old hat… Towing mirrors help a whole lot. Same way big rig drivers manage to squeeze in places…

      I do park my Texas plated little car in the garage and could only fit something less than 17′ in there so pretty much every truck is out…

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      You haven’t driven my 1987 Chevrolet 1/2 ton, have you?

      I can parallel park it fairly well, it drives as comfortably and soft as my Buick, gets 20 MPG, and can carry long or big objects if I need.

      Sadly, it doesn’t have A/C, and I don’t have a garage. I’ll give you a little MPG, and maybe concede the garage thing (Tahoes fit in a garage, don’t they???)

      You apparently have driven my F150, though. It meets all of your criteria.

      If I could only have one vehicle, though, I’d have a Dodge Dakota. 20-25 MPG, 4×4, and I can haul or tow with it. With the quad cab, it’s not a bad commuter vehicle, actually.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    From a cost standpoint, the only thing that might possibly make sense would be to use a compact or subcompact car platform, which would reduce the development costs.

    But would there be much demand for a Fiesta or a Focus with a bed? I doubt it. Why get a bed when you can, er, Escape to an enclosed cargo area.

    • 0 avatar
      Battlehawk

      Or for that matter, the Transit Connect

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Transit Connect Ranger

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          It’s not a bad idea until you think about how the Transit Connect is built, its greatest strength is the ability to basically stand up in the cargo bay. Lopping off the roof to create a pickup bed doesn’t really gain you the utility you want without sacrificing the advantages you had

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I agree. The more you think about a Transit Connect truck, the worse the idea becomes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with you both, although I saw its primary strength as being a small FWD *true* van, whereas a minivan might be too big and the CUV is not designed with cargo specifically in mind.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            28-

            It can be a good passenger van. I think it is still a little unrefined for my tastes. I would have preferred a gas version of the Grand C-Max (which has sliding doors) to be shipped over. The Transit Connect Wagon is certainly the cheaper way to do it for a company that hasn’t had much minivan success since maybe the Aerostar.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree anything designed for cargo could also handle passenger duties, i.e. the Econoline. What makes the Transit Connect stand out to me is it seems to have been purpose designed for cargo as its first mission, whereas its competitors were not. The tall factor as Xer points out seems to confirm it.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Total waste of space as a concept. Cannot understand, why Ford is considering it. Global Ford Ranger is slightly smaller than a F150, standard bed, but this would be tiny with a lot of reduced capBility

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          That market is easily served by a regular Transit Connect and a sawzall.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wish Transit Connect + sawzall = profit. I have a sawzall and I am willing to cut up some TCs.

            I have learned that Ford F150 Raptor + Expedition parts = profit for Hennessey.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Or a Toyota Tacoma.

            The market’s taken.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      How about a truck derived from the S197 Mustang platform? Cheap to make, tough, just about the right size for a compact truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I could maybe see a pickup based off the Transit Connect selling 3 or 4 copies. That seems like the lowest risk route to a true compact pickup for Ford. It would require much less engineering and new tooling than any other option I can see now. Of course that would rule out 4wd, crew cabs and a lot of things that non fleet buyers would demand. So it would probably be stuck as a fleet queen which isn’t all that bad, since that is already the reality for the Transit Connect and it has attracted enough sales that there are other mfgs that are willing to enter the fray.

    • 0 avatar
      rockets

      My “new Ford Ranger” is small utility trailer hitched on to my wife’s Forester for my occasional forays to the big box store or the dump with light loads. Not sure I like that (our 15 year old ranger slowly died with 185xxx miles) but I can always rent a truck for $20.00/hour or so or sponge off of friends. I would consider a new mid-size or smaller truck again, though.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ford’s next step after mulling it over is to build an excellent concept vehicle, with the final step being never giving a green light to the project.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Part of the problem also lies in the fact that almost all midsize trucks are crew cabs, which can only be constructed so small. You also can’t make the bed any smaller than 5 feet without incurring the wrath of the “SUV with a balcony” crowd. That just leaves the hood section to be downsized–but unless the engine is transversely mounted, there’s really no way to downsize it from where it is now. It’s not like modern engine bays have any space left.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    A 5′ short-bed (w/bed-extender built in), standard cab (with a bit more wiggle-room) would be perfect, AND fit in any garage.

    They can even offer it in brown, just like their big boys.

    Problem is, it may not look like a real “truck” is supposed to look, but the world has changed. After all, most CUVs now look like jelly beans…

    A Transit-Connect pickup, perhaps?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Yeah, but who among typical “lifestyle” pickup buyers wants a regular cab? And I think a regular cab/5′ bed would almost be too short, in that its short wheelbase would negatively affect ride and handling. There’s a reason regular cabs were never made with anything less than a 6′.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There was a time when the regular cab short box was THE lifestyle pickup, but I don’t see that making a comeback. Ford does offer the 5.5′ short box on the reg cab F-150 though.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Whoa whoa whoa…what source do you have on that? I’ve never seen one on the streets, or in the brochures, or on the website.
          Ford did offer a SuperCab/5.5′ bed from 2004 to 2009, extending through 2014 on Raptor models. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Pretty sure the box on the Tremor is only 5.5′, I could be wrong about that though. Aside from that, Ram will let you order a 5.7′ box on a reg cab.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You appear to be correct. For some reason I thought the Tremor had a 5.5′ bed. Anway, Ram offers the 5.7′ box on regular cabs, that’s a gotta be pretty darned short truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Sorry, that’s not showing up online either, and I can’t recall ever seeing such a beast in the wild. That would be a short little bugger though.

            I think the confusion here stems from inconsistent/improper use of the term “short bed”. Until 2001, a “long bed” was 8′ on a full-size and 7′ on a compact. A “short bed” was 6.5′ to 7′ on a full-size and 6′ on a compact. But then Ford put out the SuperCrew and Nissan the crew cab Frontier in 2001 and threw a wrench in the works. Is a short bed 5 or 6 feet? Is a long bed 6 or 8 feet? Sometimes it’s best just to call them all by their measurements.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        By the time that you’ve enlarged the passenger area and added a bed of adequate length, it’s just not very small anymore.

        The two-seater market in the US has gone the way of the coupe market: it’s mostly dead, reserved for special exceptions such as the Corvette that can get away with it.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          That explains why a truck is 210+” long, but it doesn’t explain at all why it’s 80″ wide.

          I have a long but narrow one-car garage and also one space in a covered carport. An F-150 would have to have the mirrors folded to get through my garage door, and once it was inside I’d have to do some acrobatics to get in or out. Similarly, in the carport, with the mirrors out and the right mirror an inch or two from the carport wall, the left mirror would be infringing on my neighbor’s carport space.

          A 70″-75″ wide truck, the same width as both of my cars, would fit both spaces just fine.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The increase in pickup truck width, mirrors notwithstanding, has been negligible over the past 35 years. 1981 Ford Pickup brochure lists width as 77 inches less mirrors. 2014 Ford F-150 brochure lists width as 79.2 inches less mirrors.
            Granted, that goes out to 97 inches including mirrors, or 105 inches with towing mirrors. But I don’t think anyone’s complaining that they can see too much out of their mirrors.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          It is on borrowed time as well. Maybe that sinkhole in Bowling Green Kentucky was an omen?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Ford could test the domestic market by importing the global Ranger partially knocked down thereby shielding it from the 25% tariff that applies to assembled trucks, as it did with the Turkey-produced Transit Connect commercial van.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Transit Connect is shipped fully assembled as a passenger van to avoid the tariff. Then they break out the glass, cover the holes with steel and then remove and discard the back seat. Of course the gov’t is questioning that though they allow Mercedes to remove the engine and trans and ship it in the back of a Sprinter and accept that as a CKD with the listed “final assembly point” as being in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The feds’ beef with the Transit Connect is that it takes so little time to do the conversion. (The Wall Street Journal that essentially mocked the federal government on Ford’s behalf probably didn’t help.) It takes Ford about five minutes to turn a passenger van into a cargo van.

        The need to reinstall the drivetrain Stateside does entail enough work to get the exemption.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    My wife and I are on our second Ranger (snared one of the last ones) and absolutely love it. All present trucks are just too darned big, so guess we’ll be nursing this one for many years.

    So, we’re one of the groups that vote for smaller pickups. I have no need to the Whale 150, the Chevy Junk-O-Max, or any RAM, no matter how good they claim to be.

  • avatar

    They gotta go small, that’s the best way to differentiate themselves from the fleet of midsizers. The advantages of a smaller truck (price?, fuel economy, performance) over the midsizers will sell well to fleets initially, and retail will follow suit.

    Or just give me an Ecoboost conversion kit for my 2011 Ranger, that’ll suffice.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Agreed…Why introduce a truck in a market with minimal room to grow. If everyone is wrong and the Colorado somehow grows the market then the global Ranger will still be ready to bring in. A small truck allows them to cover a market no one is currently covering. Were they to go all in and apply the F150 weight reduction plan to it I think it could be intriguing. But I am still dubious as to wether or not they can make money. Orkin and Napa sales won’t sustain the model.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      If there is a little niche for this type of truck, why not just slightly update the old Ranger. That chassis has been paid off long ago and would probably make the most sense.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I saw a ‘regular’ cab, short bed Tacoma yesterday. You can buy a small pickup right now if you want one. Dozens of people do so every year.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfinator

      I thought that went away in the current model year? Toyota’s site no longer has that as a build option.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Good point. According to cars.com, there are still plenty of 2014 regular cabs in stock at dealers though. At this very moment, people could still buy a small pickup if they wanted to. The time for self-righteous indignation about the absence of small truck options won’t arrive until real buyers actually deplete Toyota dealer’s supply. Until people buy the ones already built, I’ll have a hard time taking people that claim there’s a market for little pickups seriously.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The Toyota is not that small, is ancient, is really cheap and nasty inside, is expensive, and gets rather poor fuel economy. Seems like the time is ripe for a better product to take some sales away from it.

          But I think the real deal is that the aluminum full-size Ford is simply going to be expensive enough that it makes sense for Ford to offer a cheaper, smaller option. Didn’t they sell a decent number of US Rangers right to the end? And that thing was so old the last ones probably came with a pension! Heck, Sajeev bought one new, IIRC.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          They must be going fast because there’s no mention of the 2014 Tacoma on the Toyota site, only 2015

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How about a Fusion ute? ;-) You already sell them with optional AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      mik101

      Ecoboost 2.0L. Yes please.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Oh Yes! Yes ! Yes! A Ford Fusion AWD Ranchero! I want mine in some really obnoxious orange. You Tube videos would quickly exist of one being overloaded and /or abused. For the Opera-Pump-Wearing members of the small truck jihad; a vehicle to haul Mr. Fluffys gifts from the cat-pan because they’re too icky to put in the trunk of a car. Fish creels and beer coolers for the back of mine! Win! Win! for everyone!

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The f_cked up thing is that it do look like an Aston Martin pickup truck, until an Aston Martin pickup truck show up.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Just a thought, but what if this is some sort of CAFE game. The MPG gains are minimal with a midsizer versus a fullsize, but take something similar in size to the old Ranger, apply the F150 weight loss tricks for max Fuel economy and sell them. Maybe you get that magic 40mpg truck to allow them to continue to sell King Ranch F150’s with Coyote V8’s in the future.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Can we hope for a future production version of the Bronco concept then ? Maybe even two versions, one pickup and one Wrangler competitor?

  • avatar
    smartascii

    One way to get a small truck into production that fits into your garage, has bed space – AND seats 5 – would be to take a platform like the Escape or Explorer and Avalanche it. There are definite drawbacks to this, like the fact that every Avalanche or derivative thereof ever made is funny-looking and has, at one point or other, leaked rainwater into the back seat. I suppose it’s possible that any manufacturer other than GM, using modern design and production techniques, could solve the leaking problem, but it’d still be ugly.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    The answer is: ‘redesigned Honda Ridgeline’. I suppose you can:
    a. Offer a single cab option. A manual transmission would be nice. That 3.7L EarthDreams SOHC VTEC V6 would be nice.
    A 7500lbs towing capacity would be nice as well.

    I almost forgot the Ridgeline exists. Until I saw one on the road. Nice truck. But yeah it needs an update. Perhaps good opportunity?

    • 0 avatar
      mik101

      Check this out. 2016 Model Ridgeline

      http://allabouthonda.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/05-Ridgeline-Sport-01.jpg

      http://rockcars.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2016-honda-ridgeline-design.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      benders

      I know a few guys at work have them. Problem is it’s based on the Pilot; not really compact.

      • 0 avatar
        calgarytek

        The new Pilot looks ‘compact’ compared to the old one. And Honda already makes 4 vehicles on the same platform – MDX, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline. Granted, there are modifications to the Ridgeline (that ladder ‘frame’) but if the platform is shared so much, it’s more/less compliant with existing safety standards.

        I suppose Jeep can step into the fray and offer a compact pick up truck version of it’s Wrangler. But with the RAM 3.6L V6 single cab version, what would be the point?

        IMHO, Honda may be best positioned for this. The already have a platform and a ‘similar’ vehicle.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Having driven both a Ranger (my grandfather’s 2001) and the soon to be previous generation F150 (at work) extensively, I am a big fan of the smaller truck. The F150 is simply too big for many roles. The Ranger is light, tossable, and we have used it for utility tasks that its small size, wheelbase, and turning radius allowed it to perform but an F150 simply couldn’t have done. Never mind the Rangers simple, subdued look vs the F150s look at me Tonka Toy truck appearance. That being said, the gas mileage (with the 4.0 SOHC) is horrible, and I realize now that I better hope to never get in an accident, especially side impact, with anything bigger than a Geo Metro. I also realize the business case likely isn’t there since many of these vehicles are bought with a degree of compensation in mind and bigger and bolder are always better at impressing people and establishing “credentials”.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Derek Kreindler,
    I notice you reposted my photo of the Ranger that I used from a previous article. The Illustration going around elsewhere, shows something that looks like a Ford version of a Mini Moke of the 1970’s. Pretty crazy idea by Ford, I would kill it before it becomes embarrassing

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think the Colorado will change Ford’s mind in releasing the Ranger in the US.

    If the Colorado outstrips the Taco I would consider it a hit.

    The sales must come from somewhere.

    As some would like to tout the new aluminium F-150 isn’t the end all be all of pickups. It’s still a truck, with shorter leaf springs and a larger payload.

    If the new midsizers when released over the next couple of years are good enough I do foresee some competition spilling over into the full size arena.

    The average transaction price for a full size now stands at around $40k in the US.

    This leaves a significant amount of scope for a midsize to gain some territory.

    The next best midsizer to enter the US will be the Frontier and I bet it comes with a multi link coil assend. Hopefully a 2.8 Cummins diesel as well.

    Ford will not make the money out of the F-150 that everyone is assuming.

    All Ford needs is the necessity to counter the new Colorado, Navara/Frontier and Hilux/Taco.

    What many don’t realise these are refined vehicles, as refined as a full size and now they will be cheaper with better FE.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      The transaction price of course does not include discounts, if you can get a vase base model truck for $17,500 you can get that 40k truck for 28.8 every day. The same thing has been happening with every new generation of ford f-150 since 1997 the msrp has gone up but the otd price has remained the same.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Ford will be required to release the Ranger in the US, it will have no choice.

    This will again erode Ford’s aluminium F-150.

    I’m glad GM now has the Colorado/Canyon. Soon Nissan and Toyota will have their respective midsizers. And I’m assuming these will even be more refined than the Colorado and even the Ranger.

    Well the “One Ford” when you only have “One Ford” outside of the US and China will maybe teach Ford a lesson on operating in protected environments.

    The ‘Chickens that laid the Golden Eggs’ might soon be laying coal eggs.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Ford will be required to release the Ranger in the US, it will have no choice.

    This will again erode Ford’s aluminium F-150.

    I’m glad GM now has the Colorado/Canyon. Soon Nissan and Toyota will have their respective midsizers. And I’m assuming these will even be more refined than the Colorado and even the Ranger.

    Well the “One Ford” when you only have “One Ford” outside of the US and China will maybe teach Ford a lesson on operating in protected environments.

    The ‘Chickens that laid the Golden Eggs’ might soon be laying coal eggs.

    I suppose this is what occurs when you operate in an artificial market created by protectionism. All is nice and wonderful until reality strikes.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Except for the fact that they can start selling the global Ranger built in Thailand in the United States, tomorrow with no chicken tax. Ford had a hand in the free trade agreement signed a few years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @mikeg216
        Ford has said previously that the Global Ranger is too close to the F150, to really make an impact.

        Bit late in the day to change the production details, they just signed a FTA with the US, Thailand that is. Ford is not that interested in importing them

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Ford will be required to release the Ranger in the US, it will have no choice.

    This will again erode Ford’s aluminium F-150.

    I’m glad GM now has the Colorado/Canyon. Soon Nissan and Toyota will have their respective midsizers. And I’m assuming these will even be more refined than the Colorado and even the Ranger.

    Well the “One Ford” when you only have “One Ford” outside of the US and China will maybe teach Ford a lesson on operating in protected environments.

    The ‘Chickens that laid the Golden Eggs’ might soon be laying coal eggs.

    I suppose this is what occurs when you operate in an artificial market created by protectionism. All is nice and wonderful until reality strikes.

    There is a full size market, but not as big as it is.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – Clueless people around the world can’t possibly imagine, or get their heads around the sheer volume of US fullsize pickup sales, nor that they could ever happen without the Fed forcing them up on us, practically at gunpoint.

      I thought better of you, but I guess not.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Hopefully, get the price right, it will do well, but price it too high and your only getting the enthusiast sales. Just can’t aim for those buyers. Honestly they should never have quite making the old rangers. If they’re going to make this truck, they won’t have any competition and can dismiss journalist criticisms in the name of cheap. That means cheap plastic, parts bin everything, more exposed metal in cab, a normal steel bumper, and if selected 4×4 comes with a basic solid axle.
    Throw the base V6 F150 engine as the upgrade engine, and the most fuel efficient/cheapest 4 availible into it.
    Honestly, tech is not what the majority of these buyers want, and the enthusiasts usually don’t buy in the end anyway.
    And don’t pull a GM and try to price it with other vehicles in mind, if it cannabalizes transit sales so be it, don’t try to overprice it b/c of that.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    My original comment never appeared?

    I do think Ford will not have it all it’s way with the aluminium F-150.

    Sales lost to other manufacturers will be harder for Ford to bring back. How many are brand loyal fans? 20% if you are lucky.

    The new Colorado along with the up and coming Frontier and Hilux/Taco will take sales from somewhere. Ram is taking sales from somewhere.

    I foresee a variant of the global Ranger as a necessity for Ford.

    The future midsizers will have the capacity to achieve better than 35mpg on the highway. This is occurring now in some instances.

    It comes down to what people want. Economics is one of the biggest drivers for vehicle ownership. Why would you spend more for a vehicle that will essentially do the same as a cheaper alternative?

    This is why pickups did become popular. They were cheap and did the job of more expensive alternatives. Now pickups are becoming expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I think you will find that in the US brand loyalty is MUCH higher than you would expect on trucks. It takes a HUGE price difference, or some other debacle to get most truck buyers to change brands.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Except for the fact that they can start selling the global Ranger built in Thailand in the United States, tomorrow with no chicken tax. Ford had a hand in the free trade agreement signed a few years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @mikeg216
        Read this from the CEO of VW. It will explain why the chicken tax is stopping pickups from being imported into the US. Essentially to manufacture a pickup in the US a certain amount of volume is required to invest into the factories to manufacture them.

        VW estimates for them to sell the Amarok in the US at least a 100 000 market is needed to cover the cost of a factory.

        If the chicken tax wasn’t there they could import them and sell less volume and still be profitable.

        I say why not give VW a chance. Remove the chicken tax.

        Mike you tell me why the chicken tax should remain?

        http://wot.motortrend.com/1312_volkswagen_u_s_ceo_amarok_could_come_here_if_chicken_tax_goes_away.html

  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    Presumably, they’re going to be developing a new Ford Courier (Fiesta based pickup) for world markets anyway and will see if they can make a business case to build it in Mexico (because NAFTA). Here’s what the current one looks like:

    http://i744.photobucket.com/albums/xx82/danburger28/Ford_Courier.jpg

    Sort of like a modern version of the Rabbit pickup?

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Damnit, this is time for the new El Camino!

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    I wish for a small Ranger sized pickup with a stepside bed.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    After driving big pickups most of my life, the S.O. and I are quite happy with our trucklet. A 2010 AWD V-8 Adrenalin. Fits into the garage easily, hauls 4 in a pinch, tows nearly 8,000, and the 4′ foot bed is never a problem as I’ve hauled lengths up to 12′ with creative loading. It gets 21-23 on the highway, rides smoother and quieter than the ’03 Expedition and looks nice to boot. Parks in compact spaces as it’s truly narrower and not that long.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The Sport Trac second-gen was Ford’s only true midsize offering, being a variant of the 2003-10 midsize Explorer platform. The first-gen may have been sometimes marketed as a Dakota competitor, but it was essentially the same dimensions as the Ranger.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        You could call it an Explorer “variant”, but the Sport Trac was all Ranger, built on the extended cab chassis, 4wd. So it was as “midsize” as the Ranger, obviously. And not such a hot seller. But “everybody” wants one now all of a sudden???

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No the Sport Trac was an Explorer and used a stretched Explorer chassis. Before the 07 it was the 2001 and earlier Explorer chassis, which was similar to that era Ranger but not the same. In 07 it moved to the then current Explorer chassis with the IRS and available 3v V8.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    I wonder how many of the former Ranger buyers’ needs aren’t already met between the Transit Connect and stripper F150s. I can’t see a good business case to develop a whole new vehicle (platform sharing or not) for this small niche.

    If there really is a need for Ford to have a smaller than F-series pickup, maybe they can rebadge a Nissan Frontier/Navara (or Nissan rebadge a Ranger) to get a sufficient combined volume to warrant US federalization?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Interesting concept.

      But Nissan already have the next Navara/Frontier and Ford already have the Ranger.

      The simplest thing to do is remove the chicken tax to test the waters with some of the alternative pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Buc buc, buc buc, bok bagok!, buc buc, buc buc, bok bagok!”

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Please please stop mentioning the chicken tax without realizing that this truck can be built in Asia Mexico and Canada and possibly Europe without tarrif. If you are going to be the authority, get your facts straight first.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @mikeg216
          Read this from the CEO of VW. It will explain why the chicken tax is stopping pickups from being imported into the US. Essentially to manufacture a pickup in the US a certain amount of volume is required to invest into the factories to manufacture them.

          VW estimates for them to sell the Amarok in the US at least a 100 000 market is needed to cover the cost of a factory.

          If the chicken tax wasn’t there they could import them and sell less volume and still be profitable.

          I say why not give VW a chance. Remove the chicken tax.

          Mike you tell me why the chicken tax should remain?

          http://wot.motortrend.com/1312_volkswagen_u_s_ceo_amarok_could_come_here_if_chicken_tax_goes_away.html

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I wonder how many of the former Ranger buyers’ needs aren’t already met between the Transit Connect and stripper F150s”

      The Transit Connect sells in low numbers. Probably not much of a factor.

      Based upon the numbers, it is likely that many of these buyers have left the pickup truck segment entirely. Crossovers would appeal to at least some of them.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    There is no way that Ford can meet the price and mileage targets, and make a profit, unless this new truck is front wheel drive and unibody. The front wheel drive unibody Transit Connect can carry over 3/4 tons of cargo, more than most 150/1500 series trucks, so a serious truck can be made on that kind of platform.

    Talk of using an existing platform that is not the global Ranger makes it fairly clear Ford is thinking of a FWD unibody platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Which is pretty much what they’d have to use if they wanted to meet CAFE.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      False, almost every single 1500 and every 2500 can carry 3/4 of a ton.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @mikeg216
        They certainly cannot. Some 1500’s get about 1400lbs in payload , others 3000lb
        They have different frames, suspension parts, to achieve different outcomes
        The new HD 1500(Aluminium frame) has a 3,300lb payload is close to a new base F250 in capacity

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          There is no pickup with an aluminum frame, while the new F150 will have a aluminum body the frame is steel.

          You can order a F150 that has a higher payload rating than a F250 depending on how you configure each.

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