Unlike Chrysler, Nissan and Scion, which plan to reinvent small pickups for the US, Ford is sticking to its plan to end production of the U.S.-built Ranger next year and offer only full-size F-Series pickups. However, there's still a chance the Ranger could be replaced in North America with Ford's upcoming global midsize truck.
In 2009, Ford sold 55,600 Rangers in the US, making it the second best-selling small truck behind the Toyota Tacoma, which sold 111,824 units.
In an interview with PickupTrucks last week at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of product development, said that many Ranger buyers use it as a commuter vehicle.
With the new Ford Fiesta and Focus entering the lineup, Ford thinks that these will have other alternatives to the Ranger. Kuzak said that by eliminating the Ranger, Ford will be able to improve the fuel economy of its F-Series pickups.
In particular, Kuzak said that Ford aims to continue to make the F-Series significantly more fuel efficient while still providing the level of capability that the F-150 provides today."
He asserted that there will be no compromise for better fuel efficiency. He also said that the vast majority of Ranger buyers are not using the full capability of the truck and that these customers should be compared to those who choose a very affordable and fuel-efficient F-150. A 2010 Ford Ranger with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission is rated at 19/24 mpg city/highway.
This means that much of the mileage improvements are expected to come from new engines for the F-150, such as the new 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost that provides the power of a V-8 with the efficiency of a V-6, and a new 3.7-liter V-6 that sources say is set to go into the F-150. There is also speculation that a four-cylinder EcoBoost F-150 is in the works.