Blue by You: With a U.S. Ranger Raptor Off the Table, Ford Frustrations Mount

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
blue by you with a u s ranger raptor off the table ford frustrations mount

News this morning of Ford deciding not to bring the Raptor Ranger to American shores (via Autoblog) whipped your normally placid author into frothy indignation, prompting him to print off a Blue Oval and emphatically throw his entire collection of competition-grade Elkadart Razor steel-tipped darts at it.

Okay, maybe the situation is not that dire here in the office. But given some strange product decisions, Wall Street frustrations, and a mystifying new ad campaign, we’re left with one inescapable question:

What in the name of Henry Ford is going on at The Glass House?

Longtime readers (thanks, all three of you) know of my affinity for the Blue Oval, especially its Lincoln division. I maintain my relationship with the brand is a textbook definition of Stockholm Syndrome. Despite a myriad of reasons not to, and a driveway currently occupied by a Dodge and GMC, I’ve owned a dozen of the damn things. Three Escorts, an Edge, countless Crown Vics, the Lincolns. And – I think – it’s one of the reasons I keep hoping for the place to succeed.

Yet, today’s news of Ford deciding not to take on the ZR2 and TRD Pro pickup trucks is another blow to the nadgers. Most of the stated reasons for not doing so fall squarely in the “um, okaaay” file, ranking up there with my excuses for why I didn’t take out the garbage or remember to bring milk home from the corner store. Too close in price to an F-150 Raptor? Please.

This is not to say we’ll never see a Ranger Raptor, given that there will undoubtedly be more generations of Ranger trucks in the years to come. Maybe we’ll get one then. Maybe not. Ford fans in America, the home of wide-open spaces and off-road parks, would finally have a foil to their Chevy and Toyota buddies on the trail.

It remains bewildering as to why Ford is abandoning wide swaths of the market, from small cars to family sedans and now off-road midsize pickups (the latter being an admittedly narrow niche in which to play). My current theory is that Ford will morph the Mustang into a sub-brand, not unlike what Toyota has done with the Prius name. I can’t believe I just used those two marques in the same sentence.

Some of the clues to such a decision are there, not the least of which is the shadowy figure shown above, captured as a still from Ford’s new ad campaign with Bryan Cranston. That’s most definitely a Mustang logo, illuminated and appended to something that really appears to have a taller tumblehome than today’s Mustang. We know Ford was playing with (and allegedly abandoned) the idea of using “Mach 1” on an electrified vehicle of some sort.

Ford’s got an image problem right now. Blame it on a few long-in-the-tooth products, blame it on a boss whose management has been described as “cerebral,” or blame it on a disinterested Wall Street. Whatever the issue, at least top brass are committed to doing something – a point driven home at this week’s dealer meeting in Vegas, according to quotes gathered by Bloomberg reporters.

“When you have a moment like we’ve had as a company, you’ve got to look in the mirror and say, ‘What can we change to make it better?’ And it was a long list,” explained Jim Farley, president of global markets. “It all added up to the same thing: We’ve got to get serious about loyalty. The biggest ah-ha moment was when we saw our lead shrinking.”

There it is. Nothing gets the lead out of an automaker’s boots like loyal customers beating a path to the competition’s F&I office. Whatever it takes, I truly hope they’re back to form soon. I’ll pour one out for the Ranger Raptor later tonight but, before I do, let’s give the last word to someone who’s toiled at the Blue Oval for over a decade.

“Ford just seems to be at its best when it can make a comeback,” Farley said at the dealer event. “This week is the first step.”

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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  • ItsBob ItsBob on Oct 22, 2018

    Kinda late to post in this one but I feel I have to vent a bit. I am biased toward Ford as I started working at a Ford dealership way back in 1967. Called back after retirement for my 5th go (part time)at same dealership after 3 name changes and about 5 owners/managers so ya, I've been around the Ford stuff through lots of the bad and good. I really believe they monitor these threads to get idea of peoples thought/opinions/etc and sure hope they are this one. I agree with the question about what the h3ll is going on at the glass house. If you ask them about some new exciting thing that rumors say is coming, the standard answer is "we don't comment on future model plans" or something like that. But here they are commenting on future models by saying its not coming. Why not just shut the f-up about it? Same as the announcement about dropping most car lines. They really got an earful from dealers as most heard about it on here, WTF Ford??? I guess its the hope it jacks the stock up angle? So they try keep us hanging on about Bronco info/timelines/whatever but dash the hopes of those looking forward to a Ranger Raptor. May as well say the old standard --We don't comment line--- as it doesn't seem to bother them to give "NO definitive" answer on lots of other product. Ever seen one of those videos where a cop is chasing a bad guy in a car, then several more cops fall in then the bad guy circles and gets behind a cop car and they go around in a circle nose to tail? That's what I visualize going on in the glass house. Not gonna get nowhere like that Ford. :( Still love ya but very disappointed right now.

  • Scottydbray Scottydbray on Feb 20, 2019

    I own a 2019 EcoBoost which I em enthralled with, but even the biggest Ford lover has to be driven a bit nuts but Ford's knee-jerk reactions to trying to be a Wall Street darling ala Telsa. My biggest beefs are: - Partnering with VW (disaster in the making) - New Ranger is basically a 4-door SUV with a bed.. YAWN - New Bronco - not what we were hoping for - New Continental - Lincoln probably blew it's last chance for reinvention - Fiesta - Get it right finally then don't bring them here! Thanks Ford! - Focus - ditto, Fiesta

  • IH_Fever I can't wait to see an Escalade on 24"s blow the brakes off of the competition!
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