Ford is rolling out an all-new Ranger, but if you want one in the U.S. or Canada — and we do — you're out of luck.
"There are no plans for that at this time," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development.
The redesigned Ranger, which has only been seen hidden in camouflage, will debut Oct. 15 at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. The small hauler will be sold in 180 countries.
"The new Ranger is our global compact pickup truck that serves the world," Kuzak said. "It's an all-new truck with new powertrains that promise truck leadership in markets outside of North America."
Ford teased the new Ranger's "taut, toned" looks by releasing a close-up photo of its grille, which shows Ford's contemporary three-bar grille styling plus side nostrils, a hallmark of Ford truck design. The Ranger name is embossed in the top bar.
The global Ranger’s new powertrains are expected to include 2.2-liter four-cylinder and 3.2-liter five-cylinder Duratorq diesels, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder Duratec gas engine and possibly a 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost mill.
Ford sells two versions of the Ranger: the U.S.-built Ranger sold domestically and in Canada, and a Thai-built Ranger that shares only its name with the North American Ranger.
Production of the U.S. Ranger is scheduled to end in 2011. The new Ranger, code named T6, will be built on a single, globally shared platform that's been designed in Australia.
What does this mean for North American buyers looking for a small or fuel-efficient pickup? Kuzak reaffirmed his message from earlier this year: The Ford F-150 half-ton pickup will be that choice.
"Current Ranger buyers are using their trucks as affordable transportation," Kuzak said. "We have small cars and crossovers, the Transit Connect [van] and seven-passenger C-Max coming next year to meet their needs. For customers that still need a pickup, the F-150 has an all-new engine lineup for 2011 that will be 20 percent more fuel efficient [than the lineup it replaces] with best-in-class torque and fuel economy."
A U.S.-built 2010 Ford Ranger with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission is rated at 19/24 mpg city/highway.
Ford hasn't released fuel economy figures for the 2011 F-150 with the new 3.7-liter V-6 or 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, but they’re expected to be close to the Ranger’s ratings.
“The 3.7-liter V-6 F-150 XLT is aimed at entry-level personal-use truck buyers,” Kuzak said — the same people buying Rangers today.
Selling the T6 Ranger here doesn't makes sense to Ford, given the F-150’s improved fuel economy and North American buyers’ preferences for full-size pickups.
"In the U.S., compact truck market share has decreased from 8 percent to just over 2 percent," said Kuzak. "But the full-size truck segment is still one of the strongest vehicle segments."
According to Barclays Capital, full-size pickups represented 12.2 percent of industry sales in August, matching their sales performance in July and up significantly from 10.7 percent market share in the first half of the year.
Year-to-date sales of Ford F-Series pickup through August in the U.S. have surged 29.4 percent, compared with a 6.8 percent drop for Ranger. F-Series trucks are also the first U.S. vehicles to have sold more than 300,000 in 2010.
The global Ranger is also bigger than the truck it replaces, making it close in size to the F-150, Kuzak said.
"The new Ranger is 90 percent of the size of an F-150," Kuzak said. "In the rest of the world, compact trucks have grown over time. They’ve become dual-use [vehicles for work and family] and they’ve increased cab size, payload and towing."
The T6 Ranger will be built in Thailand alongside the Mazda BT-50, which shares the T6 Ranger’s underpinnings and will also make its world debut at the Australian International Auto Show. The new Ranger will also be assembled at a factory in South Africa.
Like the T6 Ranger, the next-gen Chevy Colorado isn't expected to come to the U.S. either after production of the U.S.-built Colorado ends by 2012.