Rumors about the demise of the Ford Ranger have been tossed around Internet forums and car conversations the last few years, as the aging model line's sales drastically declined. On numerous occasions Ford has denied rumors of a future North American Ford Ranger, saying the more fuel efficient F-150s will fill the niche market that attracts small truck buyers.
Yet there may be a glimmer of hope for the small pickup.
In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday, Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford may have accidentally revealed that a new Ranger is destined for North America. While listing off Ford’s expansive model offerings, Mulally clearly says “new Ranger” at the end of the list. You can view that video here; just skip to the five minute mark.
Whether this list is specific to North America, or was intended to showcase Ford’s new global emphasis, is unknown. Just the mere mention of a future Ranger is enough to keep many rumor mills buzzing for the next year until the closing of the Highland Park, Minnesota plant, where the Ranger is currently built, in 2011. Shove a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine under the hood of the new Ranger and mate it to a six-speed manual transmission and Ford could quickly have a very popular truck on its hands.
As many test mules of the next generation Ranger have been spotted in the U.S., it will be interesting to see if Ford finally leaves the small truck segment it has lead for so many years, or surprise us again with a winning vehicle.