Domestics Abroad: The Internationals From Ford
Welcome to the first entry in a new series, Domestics Abroad. We’ll be taking a look at the international models proffered around the world that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille but are not offered in their brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.We kick off the series with Ford, which has the largest number of other-market vehicles than any other domestic manufacturer despite its “One Ford” mantra.
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Was Your Focus RS Order Cancelled? Buy This Cool-Looking Ford Instead

In every hobby, there is a phenomenon where acquisition or consumption of everything is the essence of the passion. Car nuts certainly can relate, as there are those who must collect, install, and promote every possible tuner part on their cars. The well-off car enthusiast may collect every iteration of a particular classic car. For golfers, there are those (known as “club whores”) who obsess over every detail of every golf club, and buy every possible one the day they are released. They may sell off the pieces that don’t fit their game to fund their habits.

Photographers are no different. The drive to buy yet another lens, tripod, body, flash, or whatever is all-consuming. Here, we have an example of an obviously talented shooter using his skills to sell off a well-used truck, likely to fund his glass habit.

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Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCI Wildtrak Review - An F-150 From Another Universe

Over the last two or three decades, the American full-size pickup truck has morphed into something thoroughly and completely different. What was once utilitarian and practical is now imposing, luxurious.

Is it possible that the truest successor of the original F-Series is currently sold in Europe with a five-cylinder diesel engine?

I tested the new Ford Ranger to find out.

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Ford-UAW Deal: Ford Ranger and Bronco In, Taurus Out

Ford fanboys (this one included) will finally get the Wrangler-fighting sport utility they’ve been yearning for since the demise of the Blue Oval’s two-door SUV in the mid ’90s.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford is looking to get back into the newly re-energized midsize truck game with its global Ranger, and that truck brings with it a sport utility based on the same architecture. It’s widely believed that SUV will be none other than Bronco.

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Tesla Quietly Killed Its $100 Flat-fee Home Service Program

Sometime this year, Tesla Motors quietly ended its Ranger program that would dispatch service technicians to fix or send for service Tesla cars for a flat rate, Automotive News reported.

The program, which was touted by the company in 2012 as “ transforming automotive service” said the service would cost $100 “regardless of how far away owners live from a Tesla Service Center.” Tesla’s service page now says: “Tesla Ranger service may be available in your area. Service begins at $100 per visit and increases based on your distance from the nearest Tesla service center.”

A four-year, prepaid service plan for the cars, which cost $2,400 and included unlimited Ranger service visits, now only costs $1,900 without mentioning Ranger service, according to the company. A spokesman for Tesla didn’t immediately comment on the report.

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Let's Break Down The Ford Ranger and Bronco Rumors, Shall We?

News today that the Ford Ranger pickup and Bronco utility could return to the United States and Canada is being met by very enthusiastic ears, including yours truly.

According to multiple outlets, the two vehicles could be built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant, the same plant that will lose Focus and C-MAX production to Mexico in 2018.

But, is everything as it seems? Let’s dive into the Ford product portfolio and try to make some sense of it.

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Add Bronco To Today's Ranger Return Rumor

Ford may bring back the Bronco name as a Ranger-based SUV if production returns to the U.S. in 2018, Bloomberg is reporting.

The Bronco would be based on a mid-sized pickup frame, unlike the current Explorer. A Bronco could be targeted at Jeep, either Grand Cherokee — or Wrangler.

Ford ended production of its Bronco in 1996.

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Ford May Bring Ranger Back To US in 2018

Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting.

Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus at the plant. Ford announced production of those two products would move to Mexico in 2018.

The last U.S.-spec Ranger was most recently produced at Ford’s St. Paul, Minnesota plant, which shuttered in 2011.

According to sources, the formal decision would need to be ratified by Ford executives and the union’s board.

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Piston Slap: To Need a Gentrified Pickup?

The Cure for Gentrification? (photo courtesy: OP)

Zach writes:

Sajeev,

I would like your, and the B&Bs, opinion on my dilemma, but first a love letter of sorts…

I’m a proud owner of an ugly truckling, a 1988 Toyota single cab short bed pickup in all its carburated 22R goodness. The 4spd close ratio stick makes anything above 60mph interesting, but I’ve hauled 2200 lbs of radiators in it to the scrap yard, and other than having to hit the brakes to steer, it had no problems. No AC, no power anything. For a while I had a dump bed on it, which meant that trips to transfer station attracted every hispanic and african in the vicinity. I bought it for $700 from a gentleman who commuted around DC in it since new, and whose new wife forced him to sell it. I still run into him at the local HomeyD and he always looks longingly at it.

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Junkyard Find: Electric-Powered 1988 Ford Ranger Custom

I’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear.

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Piston Slap: A Grey Market Global Ranger?
H.Y. writes:Hi Sajeev, the global Ford Ranger is still sold overseas now. What are the challenges for a person to import a modern used Ranger these days?
  • how much addedcostsontopofthepurchase/transport price?
    • 25% truck import duty? even with a 4-door model ?
  • how much paper work? US customs, EPA, State safety inspection, DMV plate?
  • what if the truck has a broken or no engine/transmission, would that make the import any easier/cheaper?
    • if it has no engine, install a local used engine in the US?
  • does it matter if the truck is from Mexico,Thailand, South America…? any easier rules?
    • RHD personal vehicle is allowed in the US?
Thanks.

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Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft?

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

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Piston Slap: Blogging About Engine Bogging

Pat writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a question about driving style that I’d like to pose to you and the B&B. Part of my highway commute is a steady 2 mile grade. With a running start of 75 mph, my 2007 Mazda B2300 slows to about 62 mph by the top of the hill when I keep it in 5th gear, with the engine turning about 2000 rpm. I can maintain 70+ if I drop into 4th and floor it, but I’m a cheapskate at heart. My question is, is it really more efficient to lug up the hill in top gear, or am I just kidding myself and doing irreparable damage to my engine?

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Piston Slap: Escalading on Thin Ice?
William (no longer TTAC’s tiburon_guy) writes:Hey Buddy, I am no longer tiburon_guy since we sold it (sad face – SM) but I do have a question that a friend asked me about. He has a 2002 Escalade EXT he bought new (demo actually, 300 miles on it) now it’s at 60k and overall no major issues. He’s attached to the truck and rightfully so, as in my opinion it’s the best model Escalade created by GM.
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Piston Slap: Dash The Passat for The Road Not Taken?

TTAC Commentator MightyTall writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I’ve been reading your articles and enjoying your sage advice given to other people. And since you said you’re running low on submissions, here’s mine: I’m currently driving a well maintained reliable 140hp 2.0l Turbodiesel, 6-speed manual 2007 Passat station wagon … 157.000 km on the clock and no troubles.

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  • Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
  • ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
  • ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
  • ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.