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.