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Ranger Redux?


Ford Motor Co. may have some good news for fans of its long-running Ranger pickup, as well as workers at the company's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. The surge in fuel prices has slammed Ford's full-sized F-Series pickups, long the nation's best-selling vehicle line. But many buyers are simply downsizing to smaller models, like the Ranger, which has seen a reverse in its long, steady market slide.

As a result, sources indicate Ford may give both the Ranger and the Twin Cities plant a reprieve. The factory was due to close next year, and it was not clear if the automaker was going to transfer production of the small pickup elsewhere or simply let it fade into oblivion.

While company officials indicate there's been no firm decision made, the unexpected 2.3 percent increase in Ranger sales have them seriously considering the idea of continuing operations at Twin Cities until 2011. At that point, Ford is expected to introduce an all-new "world" pickup, which it plans to produce overseas.

The Ranger has been a truck that Ford loves to hate. In the youthful years of the Baby Boom, compact pickups were a popular - and often more affordable - alternative to conventional sedans and coupes. But as trucks went mainstream and fuel prices stabilized following the last oil crisis, buyers switched in increasing numbers to full-size models, such as the Ford F-150.

Many competitors, such as Toyota, with its Tacoma, have continued investing in upgrades, but Ford hadn't done much of anything with Ranger since 1998, and the basic technology underneath the pickup's skin dated back another decade.

Ironically, while Ranger may be getting a new lease on life, Ford is slashing production of the F-Series, and according to a report in the Detroit News, it may be ready to pull the plug on the SVT Raptor, a super-high-performance version of the F-150, which was aiming to compete with the largest, HEMI-powered version of the Dodge Ram. Along with Raptor, the paper reports Ford will scrub the 6.2-liter V-8 truck engine that was supposed to power it.
 
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Comments (4)
  1. Say what you will about the Ranger, but the tooling is long since paid for, it's reliable, and it's reasonably efficient with the 4 cylinder. Ford could have done a better job with more frequent restyles, but the bottom line is that pickups don't necessarily need to carry the most advanced technology available...it's a truck!
     
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  2. Let's say this about the Ranger....This is another example of poor forsight by FORD. The Ranger was the top selling small pick up America. Now it is criticized as being outdated and outstyled and outfeatured........ALL TRUE. This is pathetic. Ford has focussed all their energies on BIG TRUCK's. The Twin cities Assembly plant runs on One Shift. This is not an efficient (or profitable) way to run an assembly plant. They are continuing to make this vehicle because they have nothing else to offer the marketplace.
     
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  3. Ford may have focussed all their energies on Big Trucks liek Kaizen says, but look at small trucks, and tell me which one you can buy cheaper? Like WS sais, it's a truck, and the tooling is long paid for. When it comes to the economics of it all, the Ranger is a great vehicle for Ford, it's paid for!!!
     
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  4. Big trucks are out, it only makes sense to keep Ranger in production since they have no replacement for it. They're kinda homely looking and they definitely need an 'Extreme Makeover" inside and out, but they're bulletproof. Much the same as they did with the Taurus and Focus, they didn't bother to update it because it was still selling (nevermind that fleets were the only ones buying). The Ranger deserves better.
     
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