Ford might be seriously considering resurrecting its Ranger and Bronco series vehicles. The company is planning to boost the sagging sales of small pickup trucks as well as Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV).
Though the company is in the midst of a major reorganization and hasn’t confirmed its plans to start making Ford Rangers again, multiple cues point in that direction. Ford has announced it is moving the production of Focus and C-Max vehicles out of its Michigan Assembly Plant after 2018. But, instead of shuttering the plant, the company is keenly exploring other options, which include building other products at the site.
The company has been engrossed in discussions with the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union on a new contract and would certainly want optimum utilization of the workforce. The last Ford Ranger was built in the now-shuttered Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, MN, in December 2011, reports MSN.
It was quite apparent the Ford Ranger had seen better days. After dominating for nearly three decades on the market, the sales of mini-trucks were plummeting dangerously. The Ranger alone claimed an impressive sales figure of 350,000 in 1999. However, it dropped to 70,832 in 2011.
MSN also reports Toyota is currently leading the midsize truck market with its Tacoma series, commanding an impressive 50.1 percent market share. Moreover, the midsize truck market is showing healthy signs, with market experts predicting better future.
Will Americans get a Ford Ranger soon? While the decision to bring back the Ranger and Bronco seems inevitable now, Ford will have to make quite a few changes to the designs to make the vehicles compliant with today’s prevalent regulations. The task may not be as challenging as one might think, since Ford never completely abandoned the Ranger. It still makes the vehicle in 180 global markets.
However, these Rangers vary vastly when compared to the ones Ford sold in America. Depending on the regional requirements, Ford made many changes, including wheelbase height and chassis weight. That’s not all. Ford will also have to ensure a considerable price and size difference between the Ranger and its full-size F-Series brethren. Interestingly enough, Ford has always held the Ranger a little closer to its heart as is evident from a statement from the company’s executive last year, reports USA Today.
“We think we could sell a compact truck that’s more like the size of the old Ranger, that gets six or eight more miles per gallon [than a full-size truck], is $5,000 or $6,000 less, and that we could build in the U.S. to avoid the tariff on imported trucks.”
Though Ford may claim poor sales as a reason to stay away from the Ranger, the markets are indicating they wouldn’t mind a midsize pickup truck.
[Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images]