The world could really use some smaller pickup trucks. Many who are over 40 will remember the Chevy Luv, the Dodge D-50, the Ford Courier and other compact pickups that were all the rage back in the 1970s.
Then something happened ... driveway trucks emerged as THE vehicle, and they began to grow and kept on growing to where we are today. This current generation of full-size trucks light-duty trucks are the largest ever, and dwarf those produced as late as the 1980s. During this period, mini-trucks nearly vanished, and mid-size trucks took the place of the steroid-injected full-size units. (Put a current Dodge Dakota next to any full-size truck from the 1980s and note how close the exterior dimensions are.)
Well, the time has come for a small truck comeback, and the photos you see here show a new Ranger based on a global platform developed in Australia. Insiders call it the T6. It's certainly no Ford Courier, but it's a step in the right direction.
According to Pickuptrucks.com and our own sources, Ford hasn’t said officially what, if anything, will replace the U.S.-built Ford Ranger when production ends in 2011, but recent spy photos from Australia suggest a brand new, globally produced small pickup taking its place by 2012.
The engineering mules seen in these pictures might look like facelifted, double-cab versions of the Mazda BT-50 that’s sold outside the U.S. The Mazda shares a common platform with the Thai-built overseas Ford Ranger, but sources say their duct tape and cobbled bodies hide the mechanicals and running gear of Ford’s next-generation global small truck. That new pickup will likely mean all Ford Ranger models would be built on a single global platform, codenamed "T6" that's being designed in Australia. The current overseas Ford Ranger shares only its name with the Ranger built for North America.
The move is expected to mirror Ford’s recent product strategy to cut development costs by designing new vehicles on a single global platform, like the new Ford Fiesta compact car that recently went on sale in Europe and is promised for the U.S. next year.