What's Next For Ford After Ranger

What's Next For Ford After Ranger

With Ford Ranger production in the U.S. slated to end by 2011, is there still room in Ford’s future lineup for a truck smaller than an F-150?

“Absolutely,” said Freeman Thomas, Ford design director, Strategic Concepts Group. “We think it’s one of those areas of white-space opportunity where we see potential.”

That’s the first positive news for buyers of domestic small trucks from Ford since the rumored F-100 program was shelved last year. Sources said the F-100 would have been a larger-than-midsize/smaller-than-fullsize body-on-frame spinoff built off the F-150 platform.

Ford recently introduced an updated version of its overseas Ranger midsize pickup, which is sold in 130 global markets but shares only its name with the compact Ranger currently built for North America. The Thai-built Ranger’s exterior design features toughened styling cues that first appeared in Ford’s heavy- and light-duty pickups in the U.S., like the three-bar grille and the grille’s nostrils.

Could the overseas Ranger find its way to these shores in 2011 or later as Ford seeks to leverage its global vehicle lineup and control product development costs?

Thomas was clear that no decision has been made about what truck, if any, might succeed the U.S. Ranger, but said the overseas Ranger might be too big for this market.

“We’re looking at size, too,” Thomas said. “Maybe the (overseas Ranger) is too big? It’s really finding the design, capability, size, functionality, cost and price. We’re looking at the original mini-truck. That was a really affordable vehicle. It was a truck everybody could use, and it was a real truck.”

“I think it’s past time for a new Ranger,” said Jim Hossack, vice president and senior consultant at automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific. “The Ranger is the oldest vehicle in the segment, but now there’s an opening for someone to take the lead in a whole new generation of small pickups. Ford has an opportunity here.”

That new generation may be distinctly nontraditional. Unlike conventional body-on-frame trucks such as the current Ranger, F-150 and Thai Ranger, Freeman says a unibody pickup could work for American truck buyers. Car-like unibody trucks, like the Honda Ridgeline, have been praised for their rigidity and space efficiency, but panned for their reduced towing and hauling capability compared to traditional trucks.

“I think that just like when Jeep did their (unibody) Grand Cherokee, people said, of course, if it’s well-engineered it will be accepted,” Thomas said. “As long as it fills the technical requirements. If it’s tough, efficient and durable, a unibody could be a truck kind of vehicle.”

Hossack says such a truck would also need to have design cues and functionality that truck buyers expect in their pickups.

“Designers love slanted back windshields (for better aerodynamics),” he said. “That won’t work. It has to have a more upright windshield and A-pillar. That kind of styling suits the market It would also be a leap forward if it could be rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and available in three body styles.”


There will be a allnew Ranger for MY12 for the world market including the US! Built on the T6 platform, engineered by Ford of Australia, and built in South africa and Thailand. We will get the exported one from South Africa for the taxes are cheaper.

O and the unibody truck he is talking about is not greenlighted yet but still in the works...its a Explorer Sport Trac.

Good news that they are thinking about a new Ranger. The current one is showing amazing resiliency but a new one is needed.

But NO unibody!

If they decide to build a smaller ranger I will not buy one. I am already squished in my current ranger, the F150 is HUGE in comparason.

Hopefully Ford will grow a brain and build something like the Frontier.

happy to hear about a return to the original mini truck. there really are no small trucks left, and ford could really clean up as the sole participant in that segment. i would buy one, if it were small, affordable, and efficient. there are no small cars that a guy can buy and still feel masculine in. here's a huge opportunity for some smart company to capitalize on.

I think Ford would be silly not to capitalize on the F-Series brand, by ditching the name Ranger for F-100. (instead of being an alternative for the F-150, make it the replacement for the Ranger!) Itwould be slightly larger than the current Ranger. Just like F-150 out tows and has a larger cab and bed than Silverado and Ram 1500 (looking at the SuperCrew).
So F-100 with 2.0 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines. Priced comparable to Colorado, Dakota, Frontier, Tacoma - but bigger, tows more, bigger payload, bigger pickup bed, more fuel efficient, more power and torque. Drives as refined as the F-150. It would also make a great export vehicle. Aim payload at 2200lbs (1,000kg), and towing capacity at 7,700lbs (3,500kg).

Wait a second! Ranger imported from overseas? I doubt it. Imported pickups are subject to a 25% importation duty, which puts the new Ranger squarely at the top of the segment in terms of price... At that point it will probably have to be priced comparatively with the F-Series. Any takers?

I've owned two Rangers, numerous F100's and currently a 90 and 98 F150 4X4. Frankly my Rangers (both 4.0's) never got that great of mileage and the F150's offer much more room. I agree, a 21st Century F100, more in line with my '98 in size, would be a hot seller. Do it Ford, and congratulations for bringing on the visionary Alan Mulally as CEO; no bailout for Ford, a strong leader and devoted customers will keep you alive!

While I agree with Alex, that the Ranger needs to be able to out haul other small/mid size trucks, I disagree with it being bigger. I currently drive an 05 Tacoma, and it is damn near perfect in size. Any bigger and you might as well go with a full size. I think they should make the Ranger slightly bigger, I'm only 5'11" and 185lbs, but it was shoulder to shoulder when I test drove the truck. Offer the Ranger as a single cab with an 8' bed, extended cab with a 6' bed, or double cab with a 5' bed. Give it the 2.0L EcoBoost motor with 275hp and an optional 3.0L diesel. It would be the perfect small work horse, or daily driver/ weekend warrior. I would get an extended cab 2.0L turbo 4x4 Ranger without a moments hesitation, it would be a bad ass daily driver/ sport truck.

To Sierra,

Well St.Paul is closing and I have it being built in SA and exported here as fact.

Good point Nick, I think the Toyota Hilux and Tacoma are bigger than the Ranger, so Ford's replacement could be that size. Just make it better, and I think calling it the F-100 would help sales. Style it like the F150, bring the shocks to the outside of the frame, and lengthen the leaf springs like the F150, give it 2.0, 3.5 EcoBoost engines, and 3.0L V6 Duratorq Diesel from Land Rover /Jag. ZF 6 speed auto tranny - or DSG.
Specs would be something like

2.0 EB / 275 / 280 / 30
3.5 EB / 365 / 350 / 25
3.0 DSL / 240 / 369 / 30

i think it would be a dumb idea to replace the ranger which has been an ongoing compact pickup since the 80's, and was made much better after every year. i currently own a 1998 ford ranger 4x4, and when it runs, its so great on gas and perfect size for what i need it for.

I think Ford should really think out of the box like Honda did with the Ridgeline. A unit body front wheel/all wheel drive 4 door lifestyle pickup is what the market wants. Lots of compositis to keep the weight down to improve fuel economy. Hybrid drive train. A lot of young guys will go for this when fuel prices go up and they can't afford to buy and drive Super Duty's any longer.

I love the idea of a mini-truck; cars and trucks alike get more and more bloated every year. I also couldn't care less about a massive towing capacity -- the versatility and fuel efficiency of a smaller vehicle more than outweigh the occasional need to haul a boat (that's for the larger trucks anyway). Ford really has an opportunity to set itself apart here with something small, light and nimble.

I have owned 4 Rangers including my current one, 2 F150's, and one older F100. Frankly, the Ranger as it is, still has a place in the U.S. market along with a 21st century F100. All this speculation about unibody this and that, what the market wants in a smaller truck, and so forth is way off the mark. Ford will be heading down a GM spiral if choosing this route. The old saying is, if it aint broke don't fix it. The only, ONLY, thing wrong with todays ranger is the overpricing......but thats true in the F150 also. Stop trying to build all this wizardry electronic luxury hooie into a "pickup" and get back to some basics that has long represented a Ford truck. The toughness, reliabilty, comfort of drive, and overall style has always been the Ford backbone.........which is seemingly getting more and more lost in the shuffle of profits, charts and graphs and foriegn input. Try taking a poll of one million Ford truck owners and I bet a majority will concur........As in the football segment spoofs..........Come On Man!!!!

I had the original Ranger it was called a Courier and I had a mid 70's F100 and I loved both. I find that the current Ranger is not wide enough and the F150 is too tall and too heavy duty. If you could make something that had a similiar body to the F150 but more sleek and down closer to the ground so that you do not need a ladder to get into it, this would be nice. I also like the idea that an earlier posting stated about the V-6 Eco-Boost engine would be nice and so would a 6 cylinder deasel. As to the interior it would be nice to take styling cues from Lincoln. It would also be nice to keep the towing capacity.
Now totally off the subject I would love to see the Ranchero com back, but not like the boat it used to be, if it was based on the same length as the Ranger, the width of an Escape, built on a heavy duty car frame and had a sleek car like front end with a 4' box.
Sorry have to go pick up my Escape for Ford-oil change

I have owned many pickups over the last 20 years. My 2007 ranger has a 3.0L v6 and 5 speed manual that gets 20-24 mpg Canadian around town! The reason I did not buy a F-150 when I bought my ranger is no standard transmission available. The dealers up here order 4x4,s with autos only. They tell me Ford wont build anything else for Canada. I drive big truck and hate automatics because they are high maintenance and guzzle fuel.
My little truck is wonderful except I wish I could get heated mirrors w/o power windows and door locks as these options are not needed in a little truck add weight which is the enemy to performance and economy. This truck gets better mileage and has better performance than the focus I traded in for it, but it is a little on the small side. If ford does cancel the ranger with no replacement midsize truck i will have to rebuild this one when time comes. Especially if no manual is offered

LET's BE REAL & -Real -Fun
Simple design with logic minded attributes sells!

Idea #1 Make Ranger bigger than todays version w/ better all over fit of customers (size/power/what it can handle)
Add a few new features to draw the crowds.
*THEN call it the F-100 and for kicks make it the first Diesel vehicle smaller in the pickup line. Or offer this in model with basic work form with a 6 spd manual.

Idea #2 Next make a burst of size to the old Ford Courier for a smallest model and call it a New Ranger. Do offer it in basic appeal no frills. 4X4 would be clever offering this time.

Of course in these two: F-100 & new Ranger.. They would be bigger in size then the previous models as people have evolved in height along w/ required travel things like car seats and such. SPACE takers of all things. Thus, the new ranger might be in middle of old Courier to old Ranger fit.

Now for fun...
Make the F-100 have some way to widen its rear axle track so the fender extend out. Then the inner hump slides outward like SLIDE OUT CAMPERS to make flat floor exact square to load needed items that just won't work when inside fenders drag.
Example: Ranger box trailer is too narrow for Yamaha RX1 snowmobile skis. Had to prop up on side and block of wood to carry upper arm. Plus a pain to unload alone then..

I like the idea of SOLID frames.. Then a body change rear of the cabin to restyle the usable nature of a pickup. Like changing from pants to dress pants. Same but new look to person that is same.

I've often thought of ways to slide the bed of extreme short floors back to carry longer loads. Like Slide out idea.
Even ramps snapped into place on the tailgate for loading..
These smaller pickups could have such potential as do there big brothers.
We have choice of Harley Davidson, King Ranch, Platinum, Cabela's and so on...
Why not make a various platform of which each occupation and slightly adjust to better suit the needs to simplify the job.

Like Raptor F-100 or Raptor Ranger and "CUSTOM ECO" again.

MUST to keep smaller pickups with manuals if a person goes for that cost of small ride the MPG is key for them.

Personally I want small to have sporty but ROOM of colom mounting not manual.

MAKE BOTH **** F-100 and Ranger*****

Have 4 pickups !
Heck you might even surprize the people by offering again the MERCURY Pickup in one of these two smaller segments for kicks n giggles.. Will they sell ~ why not?

The Honda Ridgeline is being discontinued next year, it sucks, and noone wants a unibody truck, Unless of course is a :Cameo", or a 62 F-150, or is it a 64????

I drive a 2003 Sport Trac and love it. I previously had a Nissan Frontier and like it too. Now that it will soon be time to trade in the Ford, if Ford wants my business again, what are they offering? An F-150? Way too big. No more Ranger? No more Sport Trac? The Ford "WildTrack" is really cool, but not sold in the states. Guess Nissan will get my business again as the Frontier is the only good fit (or the clone Suzuki Equator).

I wonder if Ford execs read these posts. They shot themselves in the foot when they quit making a a U.S. Ranger. I just replaced my '98 XLT Stepside (4 banger, 5 speed stick) with a 2010 Fleetside (4 banger, 5 speed stick). I was/am very happy with both. I don't need an F-150; I'm retired & just need something to throw a couple of fishing poles in the back, and occasionallly move some furniture. Rangers are good on gas, easy to park, although somewhat overpriced. I do all of my own basic maintenance. Are you listening, Ford execs? I'm not interested in an Escape or F-150.

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