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Ford Ranger Gets No Reprieve: Even T-Paw Can't Save Truck From Xmas Axe

2010 Ford Ranger

2010 Ford Ranger

According to former Minnesota governor (and now presidential hopeful) Tim Pawlenty’s website, he balanced the state’s budget, cut spending, reformed healthcare and improved school test scores during his two terms in office, all without raising taxes.

One thing T-Paw hasn’t been able to save is the Ford Ranger, which will cease production at Ford’s Twin Cities assembly plant on December 22, 2011.  The date was confirmed in a recent newsletter from the United Auto Workers chapter 879, which read, “We are scheduled to run until December 22, 2011. The leadership of Twin Cities Assembly Plant and its members thanked the UAW and Plant leaderships’ for their support during these difficult times for our plant.”

There's no word yet on how many workers will be idled when Ford Ranger production ceases.

The Ford Ranger was introduced in 1982 as larger and beefier version of the Mazda-built Ford Courier that it replaced. Designed to compete against compact pickups from Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the Ranger sold over 7 million units during its 29-year production run.

Ranger production was once split between Ford’s plants in St. Paul, Minnesota; Edison, New Jersey; and Louisville, Kentucky. Today, only the Twin Cities plant in St. Paul produces the truck today.

The Twin Cities facility has dodged bullets in the past; the plant was scheduled to close as recently as 2009, until Ford granted the reprieve to continue building Ranger pickups.

Ford has a global replacement for the Ranger, but the truck won’t be offered for sale in the United States. It’s too close in size to the best-selling F-150, and sales of compact pickup trucks have fallen from 8 percent of the market in 1994 to 2 percent of the market in 2010.  The global Ranger’s best engines are diesels, and are not certified to meet stringent U.S. emission regulations, so the three-decade lifespan of the Ranger comes to an end--three days before Christmas.

[Pickup Trucks, via egmCarTech]

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Comments (4)
  1. The writing was on the wall many years ago for the Ford Ranger to die a slow death. Ford knew it but wasn't going to admit it.
    The next one that should be on the chopping block at GM should be the Colorado/Canyon.

  2. I think this is a huge mistake by Ford. The new Ranger with a diesel engine would be a welcomed addition to the truck lineup My 2004 Ranger Edge is due to be replaced soon and it looks like I'll have only Nissan & Toyota to choose from since the Colorado is a POS. Many people just have the need for a full sized pick up and the F-150 won't fit in my garage. Heck, even some gated communities ban truck parking outside of the garage. Those folks will be SOL or driving a Tacoma/Frontier truck.

  3. @Jim, I can't say I disagree. Diesel aside (since it would cost too much to certify for the U.S.), Ford hasn't substantially updated the Ranger since 1997. Is there any wonder why sales have been dropping?

  4. Is it true Rangers frame has been based on the model T for the past 21 years.
    Apparently FOrds idea of "world class" does not apply in the US. F150 is too big and is as attractive as the metal duct work in my basement. Hope Toyota and Isuzu come thru with true world class products for the US market.

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