Where Have Ford Ranger Buyers Gone?

2010 Ford Ranger 1 II
 

By Aaron Bragman, PickupTrucks.com

Ford's long-lived compact pickup, the Ranger, is no more - at least in the U.S. What has been a longtime favorite of many ended U.S. production in December 2011 after more than two decades of appealing to both fleet and individual buyers with its tight dimensions, relative frugality and appealing sticker price. Sales in its last year were for fleets only, to companies like Orkin's pest-removal service. In fact, the very last Ranger built in Minnesota was an Orkin-white regular cab model, destined for termite eradication duty somewhere in North America.

Which led us to wonder: Now that the Ranger, once the best-selling compact pickup, is truly dead, who is getting its sales? Have buyers moved on to the few remaining competitors in this rapidly shrinking segment (including Toyota and Nissan), or have they stayed Ford fans and moved up to other products such as the Ford Transit Connect or the F-150? How will Chrysler's departure and GM's new offerings affect buyers? Talking to some industry representatives, we've started to develop a picture of what the compact pickup segment looks like today versus its high point in the 1990s, and what the future may hold.

Can We Interest You in a Bigger Pickup?

As recently as 1999, Ford sold almost 350,000 Rangers in the U.S., a number that dwindled to just more than 55,000 in 2010. The segment has shrunk from 8 percent of the overall U.S. automotive market to just less than 2 percent, and Ford insists that the reasons for that are clear. "Buyers of compact pickups basically could be divided into two groups," said Mike Levine, Ford Truck communications manager, "those who bought them for their relatively good fuel economy and cheap price, and those who needed fuel economy plus utility."

Ford's position is that the proliferation of inexpensive, fuel-efficient small cars caused frugal buyers to leave the compact pickup behind and move into compact cars like the Fiesta and Focus. Utility-minded customers migrated up into the bigger F-150, which as Levine points out, now actually gets better fuel economy in V-6 form than some competitors do, including the smaller V-6-powered Toyota Tacoma.

And small trucks are not the bargain they used to be. Today's compact pickups from Toyota and Nissan can easily be optioned out to reach the mid-$30,000 range, which puts them squarely in competition with the lower end of the full-size pickup market. Worried less about fuel economy and more about purchase price? Ram will happily sell you a 1500 Tradesman with a standard Magnum V-8 for just $22,640 plus destination or a Hemi V-8 Express model for just a few grand more. If you can spend about the same, get decent fuel economy, and reap the size and capacity benefits that come with a full-size truck, why wouldn't you step up?

Thanks, but No Thanks

Well, because not all buyers want a big pickup, says Toyota. "There are many buyers who believe small trucks better serve their needs," said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota National Fleet marketing mobility and strategic planning manager. "They do not need a larger truck and they like the fuel economy provided by small trucks. As the pricing narrows, consumers are making the choice to buy larger trucks for roughly the same amount of money as a small truck. Therefore, it is important to offer a small truck at lower price points to maintain sustainability of the small truck segment."

While the V-6 fuel economy comparisons may have equalized between compact and large trucks, some smaller ones still offer inexpensive four-cylinder regular-cab models. One can get a base Toyota Tacoma regular cab four-cylinder for $18,470 (including destination); it offers 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway for nearly $6,200 less than the cheapest F-150. Toyota says that it has seen sales increases for the Tacoma each time one of its competitors has left the market - not only the Ranger, but also when the Ram Dakota was discontinued, and when sales ended for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon as well.

Ranger Chart II(To download a pdf of this chart, click here.)

Nissan's story is slightly different. Where the Tacoma is aimed at consumers, Nissan pushes the Frontier for commercial uses too. Nissan says that it also has seen an increase in sales since the Ranger's demise, but interestingly, it has noticed commercial customers also choosing to go with the subcompact Versa hatchbacks, giving credence to Ford's claim that some compact pickup intenders are happy going into fuel-efficient small cars. "Many businesses have realized that a small hatch is a great alternative [to a pickup], providing improved fuel economy, much lower total costs and ease of driving for their employees," said Nissan's Mike Hanley, director of marketing, Nissan Commercial Vehicles & Fleet.

From the data supplied by IHS Automotive, we can see that Tacoma has experienced increasing sales over the last two years, spiking when Ranger and Colorado/Canyon inventories dwindled. The Frontier has not enjoyed such a climb, with sales on average only flat since Ranger ended production. On average, since the announcement of their demise, the American-brand trucks have sold roughly 8,000 units a month. It would seem that much of that lost volume has indeed been picked up by the Japanese brands, with Tacoma alone demonstrating a nearly 7,000-unit monthly gain from the same point two years ago, selling largely the same truck.

Most automakers are tight-lipped about their conquests, making it difficult to know for sure from where these customers are coming, but it would seem safe to say that many are merely switching over to competitor trucks. What is harder to judge is how many are abandoning the segment entirely and switching to compact cars or larger pickups. But consider that just in 2011, the last year of sales for all of these trucks, total volume came to just less than 300,000 units - a volume the Ranger alone used to sell as recently as 1999, meaning buyers have most certainly left this segment behind.

The Rebirth of the Compact Pickup?

With only two automakers really playing in the small pickup segment (and we consider the Honda Ridgeline more of a midsize pickup) in the U.S., and every domestic player currently sitting it out, the future seems rather bleak for compact truck fans. But not so: In just a few years' time, we should see an expansion of players, if not quite a segment rebirth. Most significant will be the return of GM to the segment with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. As for Chrysler, all we have is rumor that Ram is planning to bring something new to the lineup to slot below the 1500 pickup, but those rumors suggest a unibody, car-based platform.

This is not going to be the same segment that GM and Chrysler left. These new GM trucks will not be like the ones that we last saw in 2011; the new ones are based on international designs and are also being sold overseas. They are likely to feature diesel engines, more interior room and higher prices than the trucks they replace. As such, these are no longer compact pickups - they are midsize pickups, more similar in size to the Ram Dakota that Chrysler yanked from the lineup last year and nearly as big as their full-size counterparts. Ford's new Ranger, sold in many overseas markets, has taken the same approach.

Ford's Levine describes the new global Ranger as "nine-tenths of an F-150," in size, function and content. The problem with this, and the reason Ford will not be bringing the Ranger back to the U.S. anytime in the foreseeable future, is that it would likely be priced similarly to the F-150 - meaning that any new midsize Ranger in the U.S. could cannibalize sales of the F-150's lower-spec V-6 models. And since those trucks work best for Ford's bottom line, especially when the company makes as many as it can, any plan that might jeopardize F-150 sales is dead before it can begin.

How GM will deal with the problem of cannibalizing Silverado and Sierra sales as it introduces a new diesel-powered midsize truck remains to be seen.

Stay tuned Ranger fans, as the segment for smaller (but not small) trucks is about to get some attention. But unless fuel prices skyrocket into the stratosphere, truly small, truly efficient compact pickups (which roam many roads overseas) are not likely to return to U.S. highways.

Ranger Chart 2 II

(To download a pdf of this chart, click here.)


Comments

Many of the old guys I know who do not want a full-size half-ton pickup truck have traded their mid-size or compact truck for a Tacoma.

The reason that many old people have chosen a Tacoma over a full-size pickup truck is because of ingress/egress issues at their age.

Not because of the lack of money since many of these Tacomas are sold full pop, with 4 doors, 4X4 and the V6, often costing more than what a full size Silverado or F150 sells for.

@ bob

Bob, bob, bob............. EVERY light in the dash of a tacoma IS DIMMABLE i hate to bust your bubble................ OH, and your ranger you have is SLOWER than a tacoma, PERIOD. the ONLY possible way that is a possibility as if your ranger is a V6 and the Tacoma the 4 cyl. Simply put ford's 2.3 vs. Toyotas 2.7 their is NO COMPARISON the tacoma runs circles around the ranger AND gets better mpg to boot! The SAME THING goes for the V6 ranger 3.0 OR 4.0, the 4.0 Tacoma RUNS CIRCLES around it, and gets better MPG. Take the Taco for gods sake and give it a chance........................ you'll be happy you did.

PS the dimmer is on the left side of the cluster. If you roll it all the way up it sticks on bright whether the lights are on or not. The tacoma DOES have intermittent wipers IF your company ordered SR-5's, otherwise they have 3 speed. I've never needed anything else really, not sure why you say that

@AK
I don't think a Ranger buyer would buy a Connect. Most of the Rangers I saw were daily drivers, so they would buy a SUV/CUV.

Only 1/3 went over to buy a pickup and 2/3s to other vehicles.

My 2010 Ranger was bought new in Nov. 2009. Within 18 mos. the Blue Book value was 7k less than MSRP. I traded it for a CPO 2009 low mileage Silverado LS reg cab v8. My 2009 books today near what it did in 2011 when I bought it, even with the 24k miles I've put on it. There is simply no demand for Rangers--if there was Ford might still be making it. And another thing: why didn't Ford offer the Ranger with a 2.0 turbo ? It would have been a hoot!

@hemi lol
We have the same with our Toyota's here, they don't provide those little things most of the other manufacturers provide.

But Toyota always want more cash for a similar product. They can only do this for so long. There is talk here about these issues and the uncompetitive 2.7, 4.0 V6 and diesel engines.

Toyota only have 5 speed gearboxes and 5 speed auto's in the Hiluxes.

Time will tell if Toyota has done the right thing. Competition is getting fiercer for them, they don't lead like they used to.

I'm a Dakota owner too, a V8, 5sp, 4wd, short cab short bed that is very HD, hauls 2100 lbs in bed !!(oem #s) And it fits in my garage w a lot of other stuff, I could not do that is a full size truck.

Funny how things trend, I owned three rangers I don't need a full size truck, I wish ford had a fresh ranger since they don't I have taken my money to toyota.

Yes it is ashame that Ford dropped the Ranger, but where a void is created an opportunity is openned for someone. The Chinese truck manufacturers are already looking for potential sites. Also the Tacoma is still available and the Frontier as well. Colorado/Canyon will be available in another year. Don't count the compact and midsize trucks out yet. There are those of us that will not buy a full size pickup, a crossover, or a Transit Connect. I have no problem buying a Japanese or Chinese truck that is assembled in the USA and that is priced reasonably. Other consummers feel the same way, especially younger people who do not have the same loyalty to the brands their parents have.

I doubt Ford was counting on most Ranger owners simply switching over to F-150s, but 23% isn't bad. Also, that was also 23% that were cannibalizing the F-150, which happens to be 'only' the most profitable vehicle the world, never mind North America.

The Ranger was getting killed off regardless as there was no reason to continue in a market that has all but evaporated and by far, the biggest buyers being cheapskates looking for a stripper AtoB commuter and fleet buyers.

Remember, it's a double-edged sword when you're barely breaking even or losing money on the mid-size that you do sell, and losing again by cancelling out an obscenely profitable full-size.

@DenverMike
That wasn't your story a year ago when we discussed these things. You said the Ranger guys would all buy F-150s. You were wrong, but what else can you expect.

Mid sizers aren't competitive in the US because of the trade barriers in place to protect the Big 3s cash cows........at the moment.

Period.

Ranger buyers haven't gone anywhere.
Automakers keep making the trucks bigger and bigger to game the CAFE system.
So they're shoving these big jalopies down our throats and blaming it on consumer demand.
They could also make a ranger more fuel efficient than an f-150 if they wanted to.

Rangers were very well built and heavy duty for there small footprint., I owned one that was bulletproof 239k mi very minor repairs. Until compact trucks have 20-50% better fuel economy then fuel size and at least 5 k cheaper I don't feel like they will sell well.

@Big Al from Oz --I would not count the small trucks out just yet. If GWC and other Chinese truck makers set up plants here and provide a more fuel efficient competively priced smaller pickup you will see a renewed interest in smaller trucks. This could be similiar to what Toyota and Datsun did over 40 years ago. Fuel prices will continue to go up and those wanting and needing a truck will look for smaller more efficient alternatives. This is the perfect opportunity for new competition. I am not so pessimistic anymore about smaller trucks, ever increasing fuel prices and the Chinese will renew the small truck market.

@ Jeff , the hell with the Chinese ,the big three should wake up and be the ones leading this impeding change.

@hemi lol: LOL! I reported my 4x4 numbers not EPA numbers, for my RAM. Tundra same as an Ecoboost? Lol! Keep on dreaming! You are talking like a salesman now! We will see how the numbers are for the Ram and Ford, when some tests/comparisons are done. I do KNOW, not THINK, that the Ford single cab got 21.4 MPG on this sites V-6 work truck shootout. That was not not just a country drive as they said they went do many CITY STREETS.

We don't know how the Tundra would fare against the Ford on this site, because they haven't (you can thank God) compared them. BUT, they did do a mileage comparison in the 30 K shootout, and look your precious Tundra was behind the Ram by 1 mpg. They were both behind the Ford, but then that was a single cab Ford, and less torque then the Ram or Tundra, on much smaller tires.

I am sure you will cry foul on that, as the Ram had 3.55 gears and the Tundra had 4.3s. The Tundra also had tires about a half inch taller which when combined with the Tundras numerically lower 6th gear, equalizes it darn near. The Rams tires were wider tread (more resistance) and wider section area then the Tundras 255/70 R18s. It works out like this: Ram 3.55x.67=2.38 x 31.7" tire, Tundra 4.3 x .577=2.48 x 32.2" tire. Anyway, 1 mile per gallon differance! Part of that was city, so I would think the Tundra's better spaced 6 speed would help. Couldn't hurt it. The Ram 5/6 speed ratios sure don't help it.

So cry me a river! There must be some reason why they do better in EPA ratings????

I am sre you will make up a bunch of numbers, just to try to make your Tundra look good. I guess if I was making them up, I would lie and say "yeah, I get about 20 mpg with a bunch of stuff in the bed at 75" That's what salesmen do! And I aint one!

Only 13% bought another new compact truck.

- Mike

Posted by: Mike Levine | Feb 18, 2013 3:02:10 PM

Thanks for the facts. The everyone will buy a Taco crowd just got owned!

PS My local Napa dealer is in a Focus 5 door. Previously they were in a Ranger.

Some new info to share relevant to this story:

In Jan. 2013, 23% of people who left a Ranger for a new vehicle bought an F-150. Only 13% bought another new compact truck.

- Mike

Posted by: Mike Levine | Feb 18, 2013 3:02:10 PM

The balance purchased another type of vehicle, other than a compact pickup or F-150.

Posted by: Mike Levine | Feb 18, 2013 3:58:12 PM

Owned. The small pickup market be shrinking!

Oh, hemi lol, no shortage of Tundras here, that's close to me.

http://reliabletoyotamo.com/Springfield-MO/For-Sale/New/Toyota/Tundra/?FilterNewMakes=0

But then they dont stock as many Tacomas. Maybe cause it's a fairly big town, and city folk like Tacomas. So they can fit in the garage. Another dealership near me has maybe 10 new Tundras, and 8 or 9 used Tacomas. I don't guess they sell as well in the country. So if you are pushing them off the lots, then congrats, we will put you in for an award, and give you a cookie!

You might even get BS'r of the year award!

13% is pretty pathetic. Most of the haters here were saying Ford was stupid and would be giving away their Ranger sales to the Taco. That 13% is pathetic and the 13% is split between 6 trucks. What a joke, Tacoma.

I'f ford invested in the small truck market and brought a updated small truck to our shores or built one here, a real truck, not some "half truck" trucklet thing then folks would buy it. Ranger was bullet proof and a tough truck. My kid just inherited mine and My Nissan has taken over but occasionally i still drive the Ranger. I think Ford should wait and see how the new Chevy Midsize Colorado sells. If it flies off the shelves then bring T6 Ranger here. Its already designed and the plant tooling is already spec'd out... it would pull a profit. On the other hand, Super Duty seems to be getting squeezed out. F-150 is moving so far upmarket will Super duty be logical in a few years?

I still think there is a market for the Ranger sized compact truck. The problem is Ford neglected it so bad that it didn't make sense to buy it. In a time when mpg is factored in their F-150 could get better mileage in most applications. Re-invent a true small size truck and put a 250-275hp 2.0 EcoBoost in the 4x4 and the 1.6 in the 4x2. With the Diesel like torque and respectable HP give it the capability to tow 6,000lbs with the 2.0 and say 3,500lbs with the 1.6. The only dimension that really needed addressed was the extended cab. Make it about 8" longer so a real person could sit in there on small trips. Oh yeah, shave enough weight to get a 4x4 around 18/24mpg and a 4x2 at 23/30 and keep it $5,000 less than an F-150 and you will see a small truck sell over 150k a year again.

@Big Al from Oz - No, I NEVER said Ranger guys would all buy F-150s... That's crazy talk! I said most fleet buyers would switch over to full-size D3 domestics especially government fleets. Also government subcontractors and fleets in fly-over states. Get it straight! Those might be much of the 23%

There are no REAL trade barriers (outside of the EPA and DOT) *but* foreign cars glide right past, no problem AND pay a 2.5% tariff. Remember global/foreign pickups would pay zero tariff other than a knockdown kit which may be 2 or 3%. Global OEMs pay 5% Australian tariff without a problem. 5% is worth it to them despite being a relatively small market, because of the way Australians (and the rest of the world) buy mid-size trucks and the absence of American full-size. New mid-size trucks don't look so good parked for sale next to American 1/2 tons!

During the '80s foreign mini-truck craze, how much in tariffs do REALLY think those millions of compact pickups paid? Yes, zero, zip, NADA! The Chicken Tax has always been a complete joke, where were YOU?

Despite all of this, Mitsu, Mazda, Isuzu and others ran screaming from the North American market like it was a house on fire!!! It just wasn't profitable (and still isn't).

It's the North American pickup *BUYERS* that widely reject compact and mid-size trucks except for base strippers and therefor it's tough to impossible to turn a profit here. Foreign OEMs know this and know it well! They fear no Chicken Tax, they fear American 1/2 tons...

Mahindra had a complete knockdown kit ready to go... SO the 'supposed' Chicken Tax was a joke to them too... What part of this are you still confused about???

@Highdesertcat - If more US old guys would step up to the plate and buy fully loaded mid-size trucks, I'd be a totally different market with all kind so choices. I understand and I know an old guy that has a lowered F-250 for easy ingress and egress, but why would anyone buy a 4X4 Tacoma for easy ingress and egress? Also, up until recently Tacoma crew cabs came in Prerunner trim only. The new standard height Tacoma crew cabs look odd because they come with bulging Prerunner fenders and 2wd wheels & tires that tuck in.


http://1-photos.ebizautos.com/new-2013-toyota-tacoma-2wddoublecabi4at-8813-9416867-1-640.jpg

I love how they say the higher end compacts get up into the low 30k's where the full sized starts. I like a loaded small truck.

I would rather pay 30k for a loadedish Ranger than 50k for a loaded F150. Just name the damn truck the F100 instead of the Ranger and bring it back.

By the way, if you look at the spes of the new Ranger, It is not much bigger than the Ranger.

@trx4tom

I AM in the country, certainly as much as you are. you sound like your intimidated somehow. if your talking about the FACT that i had 4 guys in my truck and the bed filled to the max and got 18 and a half doing 75 mph that is a TRUE story, i simply could give a S**T if you believe it. your probably just feeling that way because YOU KNOW your truck wont do that. Matter of fact the ONLY way your truck gets decent mileage is if its EMPTY!! the FACT that CONSUMER REPORTS not me reported the Tundra returned the SAME fuel economy as the Ecoboost. you can take it how you want it.

I wish chevy would bring back the S10 compact pickup.Mine was a 92 reg cab longbed 4x4 with the 4.3.What a great little truck that was,even on cross country trips.Good power and good mpg.Nothing fancy but damn near bulletproof.

I had hopes that Toyota or Scion would introduce a compact pickup truck based on the A-BAT concept but it's doubtful that that will happen. The newest fantasy I'm chasing is the GR-HEV diesel-hybrid pickup truck concept Mitsubishi will be unveiling at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show in March. A number of OEMs have introduced concept compact pickup trucks, but no one has brought one to market. Will NA ever see a true compact pickup again? Your guess is as good as mine.

@hemi lol; no, you certainly don't intimadate me. Well, I got upper 18s at 75 and over in the mountains like I said, and I could give a damn if you believe it! I had 210 pounds of cylinder heads, (atleast, four of them) 220 pounds of four speed transmissions (2) some headers, an aluminum intake manifold, an exhaust manifold, an extra axle, a third member, and on and on. I could go on, but when you consider I weigh 220 and my friend might weigh 175, and the rest of the stuff in the cab was probably atleast 100 pounds. That's well over the weight of your four guys. That's not driving somewhere flat either. I went thru Ohio once on a bus, I don't remmeber lots of hills? I know Illinois and Indiana are fairly flat. But southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas is not flat. Neither are those mountains northwest of Denver. So take your crying elsewhere! I understand you're upset your Tundra's aint selling! You can sell Tacomas, well, until the general public catches on that the Ram and the Ford V-6s in full sizes get as much or more mileage then those little trucks!

Oh, I don't need little narrow tires like most Tundras have, with there 6 ply gas mileage friendly Bridgestones. No thanks, I have 8 ply and a more aggressive tread pattern.

Listen to you, lol, you sound like "just once" you were able to achieve 18.5 mpg! Wow! BFD! I can get 19.2 in some pretty steep hills going 65, and no, not empty either. And no, not on 89 octane, cheap @$$ Murphy USA 87 octane.

I don't live by this Consumer Reports either, I am sure you do, as when I shopped trucks and looked at Tundras the salesmen pull them out. 2010 must have been a bad year, after all the gas pedal issues, and the fact that for awhile, CR didn't recommend them!

Maybe you can impress some new saleman that is just starting out. Not me man! I drove the Tundra 65 miles, and I didn't like it's pogo stick rear suspension ride, the gauges, the way I sat. On the other hand, spark plugs are easy to change.

Whenever they finally change the frame to a modern one, what are you gonna say then?

So what do you say about the 30K shootout, where the Ram got 19 MPG, and your beloved Tundra only got 18 (isn't that less then the EPA rating?

Maybe one of these or a Ford Falcon ute could be a replacement for the smaller pickups.

http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/revealed-holden-vf-commodore-ute-and-sportwagon-20130219-2epbr.html

@Mike Levine,
It seems it was not a good move. To retain those potential F150 or Ford Pickup Customers , then the Ranger had to soldier on.180,000 sales by Toyota's Tacoma is not to be sneezed at and they appear not to be walking away from the segment. Now GM is going to enter the segment with the new Colorado. Interesting times.

I'm with Robert. I would much rather buy a loaded T6 "global" Ranger in the low $30k range than buy an entry to mid price F-150. It's about the size (or lack of size rather) that appeals to me. The payload & towing specs (1000kg and 3350 kg respectively) on the 5 cylinder 3.2 diesel are EXACTLY what I'm looking for along with almost 30 MPG.

@Gpz85--I agree but sometimes it takes competition from the outside for the Big 3 to take another look at a product. Over 40 years ago it took Datsun and Toyota to get the attention of the Detroit Big 3 both in compact cars and trucks. Denver Mike is correct that they have to have some higher trim levels to make up for reduced profit on the stipped down trucks. I see lots of loaded V6 4 wheel drive crewcab Tacomas driving around where I live and a fair amount of the people driving them are middle aged men. There will also need to be greater fuel efficiency and price difference between smaller trucks and larger trucks which the Chinese will do. Then again you have to look at how you can gain more efficiencies from parts suppliers and on the assembly lines. This can be done it just takes more effort and planning.

I feel it is to bad Ford did not invest some $ in the Ranger, and bring it more up to date! imagine a Ranger SVT with AWD and an Ecco-Boost engine! either 4 or 6cyl! or an off road version with 33" tires and suspension to match, and one of the new engines? even just the 3.7 would have been real nice! just update the frame and suspension and engines, everything else was fine! I know I would be looking at one right now, I could get ride of the F-150 EB and get a reg cab 4X4 FX-4II, with the 3.7 engine! ans 6spd stand! that would be a realy nice little truck! driven sainly that truck would get mileage in the 20's no problem! what does a 4X4 Ranger reg cab weight anyway? 3800lbs? and with 305hp? wowee!!!!

Bring back the El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. The El Camino could be based off the cruse or Equinox, and the Ranchero off the focus , or maybe even the escape. They would be capable enough to hall what most people would need in that size segment. They should at least bring it to the car shows to see the feedback they get on them. I would buy one as long as the price was reasonable. The comfort of a car and utility of a small truck.

Speaking of little cars that had beds on the back, what was that, the Ford Explorer Sportrac, am I thinking right? Had a little bed...I don't think that was a very good seller.

My stepma did with a minivan what some do with the little trucks. Need to move a few bales of hay? Stick them in the van. Sure it wasn't a 4x4, but they did have AWD available. But with FWD she got around fine. She got more mileage then the current v-6 midsizers do.

I shopped midsizers once. I passed right on by the Tacoma, overpriced, and not much torque. (atleast if you plan on pulling a car on a trailer. I looked Frontier, but I would have been close to it's max weight all the time. I bought a Dakota, which had the bed been longer, might have been tolerable. But the 4.7 V-8 wasn't that great of a pulling engine, and I had the 2007 H.O. with 3.92 gears. Atleast the leaf springs were built to hold some weight.

My brother in law had a fancy Tacoma. Before he got it he was thinking of a F-150 with a 4.6 3 valve engine, to pull their trailer. Then the F-150 wouldn't fit in his garage. So he shopped Tacomas. He wanted something to pull about a high 5000 to 6,000 pound trailer, then he realized it was at the limits of the Tacoma, and it would be straining around these hills. So he bought it and had it delivered to an RV park on the lake. Now he's back in an SUV, but he got good resale off the Tacoma. He did say he wished that he bought the F-150.

I'm tired of all this talk about mid-size / compact trucks being too close in pricing to full size trucks.

I've priced out both. Sure, when new, a Ranger would cost about as much as an F-150, BUT what most people neglect to take into consideration is vehicle OPTIONS. The Ranger would have more options (power windows + locks, cruise, crew cab) than the similarly priced F-150 (regular cab, manual windows + locks, no cruise).

I just priced out a Frontier and F-150 extended cab with similar options and the F-150 was $5k more. Of course, this is not taking into consideration any rebates, sales or haggling. Even if they were the same price and achieved the same gas mileage, I'll take the Frontier. Why? Because its SMALLER. I don't haul much, so the smaller vehicle is actually better around town. I'm sure there's more who are in the same boat.

@DenverMike "...Also, up until recently Tacoma crew cabs came in Prerunner trim only. The new standard height Tacoma crew cabs look odd because they come with bulging Prerunner fenders and 2wd wheels & tires that tuck in."

2nd gen Tacomas were always available as a PreRunner (6 lug 4x2) AND 4x4 (6 lug 4x4) in Crew Cabs. They have the same frame and ride heights except PreRunners are missing 4x4 gear. Since 2011 there are 2.7L 4-cyl CrewCabs available in both 6 lug 2wd (PreRunner) and 5 lug base model which sits lower. The one you posted a link to is the goofy looking 5 lug base model 4-cyl CrewCab.

Those first two S-10's were the greatest small trucks I think. The Ranger was never that great looking. Although I understand it was reliable. I'd guess most of the Ranger owners will just go to an F-150 or Tacoma. If I drove a Ranger and it was suddenly gone, I know that's what I'd do. The current and upcoming Chevy Colorado's are atrocious looking. I don't care for the Nissan's much either.

@RobertRyan - You have to know when to quit and actually Ford quit on the Ranger along time ago. It doesn't matter what you import or build, the North American rejects the compact and mid-size market. This date back to when the segment had everything going for it. There was nothing wrong with the Mighy Max, Hard Body, S10, etc, but still, NA truck buyers said 'no thanks' for the most part. Well except for base regular cabs which are loss leaders and will always be loved... And that's another thing. Many (retail) small truck buyers aren't even traditional truck buyers, but base reg cab mid-size trucks cost LESS than Corollas, Sentras, Civics, Rios and such, after rebates!

We really don't know if Tacomas are profitable or if Toyota will kill them off. OK, they will, but we don't know if they'll bring the HiLux to NA to replace it.

What can we say about GM bringing the Colorado and Canyon to NA while Ford vacates the segment? Hint: One company is able to hold it together on its own while the other folded and its survival is now guaranteed by tax payers. Who's decisions do you better trust ???

Ford did what they thought was BEST FOR THEM when they killed the Ranger. Their global strategy is focus on the 20% that makes them 80% of their money. That definately kills the Ranger. Many are upset by the lack of reciprocity when it comes to brand loyalty. People should realize that corporations exist to make money (or at least they should), they offer products that will (hopefully) sell in high volumes with high profits. The Ranger may of sold reasonably well but was it truly a high profit item? Most that still want one talk about low price as a major attraction. If guys were only interested in a small truck and price was secondary, the SportTrac would still be on the market.

Fleets buy what is cheepest. A trucklet is safer in relation to pest control because there is a bulkhead seperating those chemicals from the driver. A container leak would be more dangerous in a van.
I do not think that Ranger buyers went to minivans. They are expensive compared to the Ranger. It is also a shrinking market. Soccer moms do not like the stigma of a 7 seat baby hauler. They are going to small SUV's.
Most of the local parts warehouse outlets in my area use small econobox cars for delivery. The only ones using pickups are brand car dealerships, and some industrial suppliers like Finning Catepillar but they are more inclined to use 1-3 ton trucks with Hiabs.
NA emission and safety rules are a big culprit. The size of the pickup determines emission and safety regulations. I was very surprised when the Atlas surfaced. Then next gen F150 is alleged to be larger not smaller. Instead of spending billions in R&D to meet tougher rules, it is cheeper and easier to "supersizeme" to take advantage of HD rules. Sneeky move Ford, and unfortunately is perfectly legal.

Buy what meets your needs the best. Ford has written you off for the time being. Loyalty is for friends and family, not corporations.

@Someone - Non PreRunner (standard ride height) crew cab Tacomas sit too low for 6 lug upgraded wheels and tires. I've only seen them with standard wheels and bulging PreRunner fenders. Got pics?

Americans have become much wealthier in the last 10 years and are now buying bigger trucks. They also realize that CO2 and Water emissions from gasoline automobiles makes plants green and they care about the environment.

@DenverMike - "Got pics ?" Oxi rubbing off on you? LOL

@DenverMike
Actually, business (vehicle manufacturers), government (regulations, handouts), unions (supposed to be for the workers) make the decisions that influence what you buy.

The above mentioned parties come to a consensus to structure what environment there is to operate.

It is quite foolish of you to think that you, the American public are the reason why smaller pickups aren't as competitive as a full size and have been rejected. That's very simplistic.

If what you had stated was true then globally, full size trucks would prevail, but they don't.

You are correct in stating that there is nothing wrong with mid sizers, as the rest of the 6.7 billion people on the planet use them.

So if there is no money in mid sizers then why do the rest of us buy them? Are the manufacturers making a profit on them, according to your theory they don't.

Something doesn't quite gell with your argument but you are entitled to believe in what you want.

DenverMike | Feb 18, 2013 7:50:27 PM, yeah, afraid I'm no expert on midsizers or Ranger replacements since I drive a Tundra 5.7 DC.

I have never owned a midsize or compact truck for my own use, however I have ridden with some of the old guys who prefer them and the 4X4 Tacoma 4dr I sat in is real easy to slide in and out of, even for short women. It's no higher than my wife's 2012 Grand Cherokee, which is also very easy to get in and out of.

The Tacoma I most recently sat in was all black, 4-doors, 4X4 in the SRT5 trim, purchased in Escondido, CA. Maybe availability varies by location? I have seen the Pre-runners and that's not what the old guys I know have bought.

A couple of them have the plain old gray 2wd ext cab Tacoma that is very low to the ground. But these same guys also own other vehicles like an SUV and/or a sedan or minivan, all of them easy to get in and out of.

For the occasional hauling job or bringing home oversize purchases like an 80" flatscreen, refrigerator, washer/dryer, it's hard to beat a midsize or compact truck if a fullsizer is not your bag.

on this very site I said ford should offer a truck based off the focus with front and all wheel drive yrs ago.

No extended cab .
No big ass grills.
no huge cab.
no ecoboost turbo engine
no leather or heated seats
no power windows or door locks
no 8 speaker stereo
put a trunk in it like the ridgeline for grocery runs and tools
air conditioning should be the only option.

In other words ford make a stripped down focus with a explorer sport track simular bed and you will sell more little trucks then you can make !!!!!!!Call it the f-100

Henry ford sold millions with this approach on the model t and it worked then and it will work now.

The beetle sold on this approach just like the model t did .People needed cheap transportation then and they do now.

@Big Al from Oz - Take away our 1/2 tons (and up) and yeah, we'll be just like the rest of the world. We would have no choice but to buy mid-size trucks. Lots of them and fully loaded too, not just fleet strippers or AtoB base commuter pickups.

We've had both kinds (compact/mid-size and full-size) starting in the '70s and guess which ones prevailed?

The rest of the world can do what works best for them, but that's irrelevant here in North American, but at least we can say we gave compact trucks a good shot. Excellent shot, actually and there was absolutely nothing wrong with 80's import (or domestic compact/mid-size) pickups, but they lost anyways. Game Over!

You cannot blame regulations or handouts for what started happening (or not happening) in the late '80s to sales of compact and mid-size trucks, both foreign and domestic. It doesn't make sense. The Chicken Tax dates back to the '60s and the handouts happened in the 2000s. And how did US handouts hinder imports pickups?

@DenverMike
I will educate you, and expand your mind a little (hopefully).

The reason vehicle markets around the world are different is because of:

1. Government Policy and Regulation
The policies are forumulated by groups of parties that have a vested interest. Europeans use different "tools" to regulate and control what their citizens drive than the US. But both want to protect as much their industries as possible. If the US ran the same policies as the Europeans, then very few full size pickups would sell. Hence, government policy dictates what you can afford to drive.

2. Economics
Economics will determine what value of product can be sold and manufactured. Simply, countries that are disadvantaged economically will have smaller markets per capita than more prosperous economies.

3. Global and Regional Influence
Regions that have a powerful market will determine what it's neighbours do. The same as global demand and pressures affect markets.


The problem the US faces is that is market size is reducing from 50% after WWII to now 17%. This means its influence is dimishing. Sooner or later what the US wants will mean little and probably cost its consumers money.

The US work closer with the rest of the world in all areas of industry. It has to for its own survival.

This has been the basis of my argument. The US only has large pickups that are protected by trade barriers from cheaper and more economical pickups that pollute less.

@Lou--I agree with you and that is why I have no loyalty to any corporation. I have nothing against Ford, but if another manufacture offers me a product that better fits my needs I will buy that product. I have driven GM products of and on for almost 40 years but if they were to disappear I could easily move on another brand regardless. I have owned several Japanese vehicles and have been very satisfied with them. I have never owned a Korean vehicle, but I like Hyundais and Kias a lot and would have no problems buying one of them. If I were to buy another small truck Toyota, Nissan, and the soon to be new Colorado/Canyon would give me enough choice. If and when the Chinese come to NA then I would look at their small trucks. I don't go around buying clothing advertising brands on them. I will wear something with a name on it if you give it to me for free or even pay me to wear it but I am not hung up on brands. I like Fords but I lived without owning one for the first 40 years of my life. Yes the Ranger was a good little truck but it was obsolete and it is no longer made so I can easily move on. I think the Ranger needs a proper burial, may it RIP.

@Big Al, DenverMike - I did read somewhere that Canada was working on a Free Trade agreement with the EU. They were upset because the USA has decided to come to the table. I suspect the reason for Canada being upset is, as Big Al pointed out, larger economies dictate the agenda. A "real" free trade agreement would be interesting but as seen with NAFTA, the "free" part ends up translating to what is beneficial to the mandarines that run US industry. I do hope that history does not repeat itself. Free trade needs to be free on both sides of the fence and beneficial to others beyond CEO's and billionaire stockholders. One way streets cause the trade imballances and current fiscal mess that the USA is currently in.



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