Photos: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company (top) and James Stanford (bottom)
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 captured half a world apart point to 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. and 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.
Photographed T6 test trucks are configured in both left- and right-hand drive versions and are longer and wider than the current overseas Ranger. The mules are powered by diesel and gas engines. An industry source says the T6 Ranger for the U.S. will likely be powered by a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct injection turbocharged EcoBoost engine producing at least 175 horsepower and 180 pounds-feet of torque. Ford's 3.0-liter Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, rated at 154 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque, is expected to be carried over in the new truck for buyers outside the U.S.