How the Next Ford Ranger Could Come to the U.S.

How the Next Ford Ranger Could Come to the US

Two significant events last week, plus past comments from Ford execs, reaffirmed that it’s curtains for the domestic-built Ford Ranger and Ford’s small pickups in the U.S. after 2011. But one possible scenario could play out that might still see American truck buyers driving a Ranger in 2012 and beyond.

On Aug. 25, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Chris Coleman unsuccessfully lobbied Ford to keep its Twin Cities assembly plant open where the Ranger is assembled for the U.S. and Canadian markets. After several extensions, Ford Ranger production will end in Minnesota by the end of next year.

A day after Minnesota’s last-ditch efforts, Ford and Mazda announced a $350 million joint venture in Thailand to build the next-gen Ford Ranger — code named T6 — and its Mazda counterpart, the BT-50, for markets around the globe except the U.S. (and Canada) starting in mid-2011.

Ford sells two versions of the Ranger: the U.S.-built Ranger and a Thai-built Ranger that shares only its name with the North American Ranger. The Ranger T6 will be built on a single, globally shared platform that's being designed in Australia.

Ford isn’t the only one fleeing the segment at home. Chrysler has said the Dodge Dakota will end production next year, though the Dakota may be replaced by a small unibody pickup. Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon production is also expected to end by 2012, leaving only Toyota, Nissan and potentially India’s Mahindra & Mahindra as the remaining players in the U.S.

The segment has steeply declined over the last decade in the U.S. because buyers have fled compact and midsize trucks as their sizes have increased along with prices to near full-size levels and the platforms have aged in favor of updates for light- and heavy-duty pickups, which have higher profit margins.

Two obstacles preventing the future overseas Ranger from showing up here are Ford’s all-new engine lineup for the 2011 F-150 half-ton pickup, which includes a new fuel-efficient Duratec 3.7-liter V-6, and the so-called “chicken tax” which imposes a pricey 25 percent import tax on pickups manufactured in most countries outside the U.S., including Thailand.

The term "chicken tax" originated in the early '60s during a trade dispute between the U.S. and Europe over U.S.-imported chickens, which were slapped with a special tax to protect West German farmers. The U.S. responded by slapping a 25 percent tariff on trucks imported from Europe.

There are countries, though, where the chicken tax doesn’t apply because of special trade agreements with the U.S., such as Australia and Mexico.

In addition to Thailand, Ford will also build the Ranger T6 at a second site in South Africa, at its Silverton factory in Pretoria. South Africa isn’t subject to the chicken tax because the country is part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that was signed into law in 2000.

AGOA provides incentives for American companies to trade and invest with African countries that meet certain conditions, such as eliminating commerce barriers and promoting human rights. The countries can also export goods to the U.S. duty-free, including pickup trucks.

It’s possible that under AGOA, Ford could decide to import the Ranger T6 to the U.S. (with certain modifications required to meet federal emissions and safety standards) and avoid the chicken tax.

Ranger T6 production is scheduled to start in South Africa by the end of 2011, about the same time that U.S. Ranger production is winding down.

But there’s risk in such a move for Ford. Unless it’s extended by the federal government, AGOA will expire in 2015, and South Africa, along with 39 other African nations, will lose the special tax-free trade status. Ford could get caught scrambling for a third assembly line in a chicken-tax-free country if Ranger T6 sales take off in the U.S. beyond 2015.

Still, three years could be enough time for Ford to test if small-truck buyers are still serious about small trucks.

Comments

I think it would be a dumb move on Ford's part. They have been making all the right moves latly and then they announce this. I still dont understand why they dont just update the current ranger with the 3.7 v6 and the EB 4cyl and throw in sync. It wouldn't be very expensive since they already have a great top quality platform, just don't re-invent the wheel. They are still selling over 50k rangers a year and with a cheap update it would easily boost that number. Just my thoughts on this.

If it's not broke don't fix it. Price is the biggest complaint about the rangers. SMALL pickups should SMALL price tags.

Real shame to see small trucks going the way of the Dodo in the US. Same with smaller than full-size SUVs. There is so much that could be done to make these vehicles truly awesome. Instead, they want to force these buyers into larger vehicles they may not want or need.

i and everybody i know will go to dealers and boycott the ranger since it will be a hundred percent foreign thats sad here i an employee am supposed to stand up for my american made employer only to have most production moving out of the USA

If you make them here, there won't be a chicken tax! Problem solved.

I agree with the previous posts- update the current Ranger. The North American market is different than the rest of the world with it's full size pickups. In several different ways price is the big issue. To recover development and higher transportation costs from South Africa a North American T-6 would most likely be priced higher which would do one of two things; not sell well because the price is too close to the F-150 or canibalize the more profitable F-150 sales. Not a positive outcome in either case.

Ford has been handed a gift but it looks as though they'll leave it on the table. The Ranger is a class of one- it's the only true compact sold in the U.S. market. It's major development costs long ago have been amortized. Continue to update it, fix it's weaknesses - lack of a fuel efficient V-6 and a crew cab , and use some decent promotion, something the Ranger has lacked for years. The original VW Beetle is a good pattern to follow.

There IS a market for a fuel efficient compact truck in the US market and while a more fuel efficient F-150 is welcome, it can't take the place of the Ranger with it's higher initial and operating costs.

I had a 05 and an 07 ranger both great trucks I never had a complaint about power or drivetrain just could use a little more room and I dont understand why they dont use limited slip diffs anymore or put the rearend gear ratio on the window sticker.Both of mine had 3:73 limited slip 4x4 bone stock with goodyear wrangler rts could go anywhere my buddys toyota could go with a lift and mud terrains. I think a four door version would be a far better truck than colorado, canyon, dakota and tacoma just my 2 cents worth.

If I could have bought a true crew cab Ranger I probably would have done that instead of the 07 Sport Trac I now have, especially if it was available with a six-foot bed and a decent drivetrain. After another year or so I probably won't be able to buy either and I certainly have no use for a bigger-than-my-garage F-150. Looks like I won't be buying anymore new Ford trucks. Never thought I would be saying that about the best made trucks on the market and the only brand I have ever owned.

I thought Ford was a U.S. company yet they do not give a dam about the U.S. and would rather build pickups abroad insteade of exporting them from U.S. plants...

More U.S. jobs lost at the hands of the big 3 while Toyota is building another plant down in Mississippi!

More Ford $$$ going abroad to help Thailand and South Africa while the U.S. gets screwed again!

Forget
Our
Ranger
Dammit
and buy a big ass fullsize truck to drive to the grocery store .

And another thing it seems kind of dumb to cede market share to Toyota because that is surely what will hapen if the Ranger dies .

@Taylor,

LMAO!

@Rustbucket i can't agree more just tweek it every so often saftey etc.. The idea of a small pickup is to get good gas mileage and low initial cost. I admit Full size pickups are great but dont suit my needs what so ever.(other than ego.) but a compact 4cyl stick shift pickup is perfect for many peopl. It can Be an everyday driver and get what most people need for home projects. I'll miss the ranger and Mazda(still made for the canadian market.) when they leave.

You guys are all screaming and yelling at Ford for not making the Ranger in the U.S. anymore. You should really direct your anger at the UAW, which has become so greedy and demanding in its pay and benefits, that it's no longer profitable to build certain vehicles in the U.S. anymore. Yes, they've made some concessions in the past few years, but if Bob King's rhetoric is anything to go by, it looks like they're going to try and restore the plush bennies & pay of yesteryear, and then some. You can count on more & more manufacturing going overseas or south of the border if that's the case.

There is another way.

The current Ranger is also built in Argentina, and exported to Latin-American countries, Mexico included. The diesel version is sweet! (www.ford.com.ar).

If Ford shipped unassembled components to Mexico, and put them together here with some local content, (like Toyota and Honda do) the truck would be NAFTA elegible to be exported to the US and Canada.

Just my 2c.

The currrent Ranger is also a dinosaur. It even still shares some parts with the 80's Rangers. By the time they got done redesigning it you would have a truck the same size and efficiency as a Tacoma or Frontier and it would miss the point. The Colorado is slightly bigger than the Ranger and it is no huge sales success by any stretch. It takes more than add a little more room and horsepower to make a solid seller. Trucks the size of the Ranger are going to find it harder and harder to pass crash tests as well. There is no real point to a 4 cylinder NA engine in a truck like that either. You'd have a tiny payload and a nonexistant tow rating. Almost all of them make a V6 standard if you opt for 4wd.

@ Edward- Good point! Ford has the highest concessions and the UAW wants more & more! The UAW is going after the jap manufactures that build auots here in the USA and it's just a matter of time they will start going outside the USA to avoid the high labor costs. I hate to see the ranger go, but I guess they have to do what they have to do. Is just a matter of time and the UAW will unionized all the jap manufacturers and their free ride will be over.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/oh-what-a-feeling-the-uaw-targets-toyota/

I'm looking to trade my 2000 Ranger for a newly designed Ranger but doesn't look like that's going to happen. I hate the ugly Toyota's so it looks like my only option will be the Nissan Frontier. I refuse to buy a large vehicle like the F150. It's too large for my use. Ford's loss, Nissan's gain.

@ Frank - "The idea of a small pickup is to get good gas mileage and low initial cost" ............ that's an idea that's been lost to a great degree in the current market. The Dakota, Frontier, and Tacoma have moved upmarket putting them close to a fullsize pricewise. Not everyone needs, wants or can afford a fullsize truck and the Ranger is about the only one left especially if you consider real world prices.

I looked at a 2010 XLT regular cab 2wd 2.3L/5m- S14,200 +TTL after the rebates. That's with a receiver hitch, tilt/cruise/ pw/pl/pm and Sirius radio. I don't know where you could buy a new truck with that equipment for that kind of money.

I like the old-fashioned looks of the US Ford Ranger. It is a great reliable truck. I drove it while I lived in the US. Now I live in Germany and they sell this ugly Thailand Ranger over here that costs 150% more than the US Ford Ranger that you can get for 12K bucks. That is a total rip-off. I would love for Ford to just continue the old-fashioned Ranger and continue the plant at Twin Cities and then ship me one of those trucks here to Germany!!! We don"t want a fancy compact truck for $30,000. I don"t want GPS, MP3 and all that electronic garbage. I want an economical, useful truck. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Even though Ford has been doing fairly well lately, they have been good at cutting cost, but now its time to grow the market and they dont seem to have a solid plan!

Example

They should keep the Ranger just as it is and install the new engines, the way Ranger is selling why create another vechicle and spend all the money marketing for less sold vechicles!

Same with Crown Victoria, here they are killing a car the police and fleet market is wanting!

Does anyone think that demoting the upscale front drive Taurus into a police fleet vechicle is a better idea than making a Mercury version of it and keeping Mercury?
How about a new Grand Marguis version built off the Lincoln MKS!

Killing the Lincoln Town Car, but building a small version of Focus or Feista platform small Lincoln, why not a new Mark Series RWD Lincoln!

They product starved Mercury then complain on how bad it was selling, it still to this day is outselling Lincoln?

I think killing Mercury will comeback to hault Ford, for all they have been doing right, there are big cracks in the armor when it comes to new products!

Ford might build it at another North American plant. Ford wants more than one model built at its plants. Time will tell.

@ Roberto - If you make them here, there won't be a chicken tax! Problem solved.

They're too chicken to do that.

If they build it in South Africa and bring it here thats one truck I won't be buying... just my 2 cents!

this is true ford,new diesel have ,a cam problem...yes or no..

The government regulations for improved fuel economy are just a few years away. Ford must be confident that they can meet those new MPG guidelines without the Ranger. I would suspect that is the underlying reason why Ford is killing it. I would not consider any compact if a full size got better mpg.
They do buy themselves some time with the potential of importing a "chicken tax free" South African truck. If current full size Ford pickup sales continue at their current rate - they won't care at all about loosing 50,000 compact truck sales a year.

The UAW won't let Ford move the plants to the south where there are open shop laws and where other makers are thriving making profitable vehicles. A southern states Ranger could be a huge success if updated and priced to kick butt in the market place. At this point the unions think they win. But vehicles someday will be made in the south or out of the country where we all loose.

I think importing this truck, especially if it becomes succesfull, could be problematic. If the Ranger is to come here they will have to build it here or update the North american Ranger. Fords plan to offer v6 engines in the current F-150 as a replacement for the Ranger but I have my doubts that this plan will fly. Many Ranger buyers simply do not want a large truck. Many buyers need smaller commuter trucks they can commute with but at the same time have the ability to hit the Home Depot for weekend projects. They don't need a huge work truck. I would be a little nervous if I were Ford. Not sure of the wisdom in abandoning a market segment. If fuel prices go crazy again Ford will be in a rough place with no compact truck to offer.

ford is making a new truck unrelated to the T6.

Have you heard the one about the chicken and the egg?

We can go round and round for days...
Did the Ranger stop getting updates because of declining sales? Or did sales slide because the product wasn't getting updated?

Either way, there are indications from Ford's top brass that a new "Ranger" is coming here. If this happens, I trust that they've done their homework as to the size, capability, and price point of the new truck. If it doesn't happen, I trust that they couldn't make the numbers work. Don't get your panties in a bunch.

@ken and premier, what are the indicators that ford is bringing up a new downsized truck?

@Premier,

The chicken came first. Ha!

The rooster came first.

“The segment has steeply declined over the last decade in the U.S. because buyers have fled compact and midsize trucks as their sizes have increased along with prices to near full-size levels and the platforms have aged in favor of updates for light- and heavy-duty pickups, which have higher profit margins.”

Mike Levine hit the nail on its head. This is exactly the reason why the segment has declined. And this is also the reason why Mahindra’s pickups would be a great addition. Compact, brand new platform and affordable. And let’s not forget their diesel engines, impressive mileage and payload capacity. And with EPA certification recently been achieved, Mahindra is on the right track. Now let’s just hope it resolves things with its distributor.

And as for the Ford Ranger, it’s great to hear the news but I’m afraid that’s only speculation for the moment. Mahindra’s trucks on the other hand are real and will soon be on their way.

I think that having a single platform in Thailand is a good move by Ford. Having the Ranger being built on a single platform will improve the production efficiency.

I certainly don't want a full-size city-bus like truck in my garage! A redesigned Ranger would be great, but as has been previously been stated, new engines and safety updates would get me to the dealership. I would continue rebuilding my'97 before spending money on a McDonalds-supersized-like truck!!! I would go to another manufacturer as well before getting a full sized truck rammed down my throat!

Yes, let's keep on bashing the Unions for our high prices! Because most of the Union-bashers out there want to keep the ordinary workers in their place. You know that you want the mfg. workers to be subservant to you. To keep the prices down, everyone in the US must make below $10,000 dollars per year. That also includes all of you namby pamby bashers out there. My old union job in the mid-west paid $48.13 per hour. Now my much 'better' non-union job here in the southeast pays $11.00 per hour. YES, I FEEL SO MUCH RICHER! So for all of you bashers out there, 'THANK YOU FOR PUTTING ME IN MY PLACE'!

Adopting the RANGER to US standards just means installing inferior brakes and more cupholders

Non UAW will be a factor in my future car purchases. Corruption and political manipulations have driven me off. If Ford thinks people in Asia need a special small pick up but USA buyers will buy anything they are wrong.
If Ford discontinues the Range and Toyota ever updates the equally primitive Tacoma you will see a mass migration to Toyota by previous Ford buyers.
I need a high mileage light hauler that will fit in my garage. That is not going to be a F-150.

I bought a used F150. It's too big. There are no parking spots in Calgary wide enough for it. It also burns too much gas. The Frontier is too big and too expensive, the Tacoma likewise. The Colorado doesn't exist anymore either. If the new Ranger was available here, I might have purchased new instead of used (depending on cost). If the old-style Ranger was still available here, I would have definitely purchased new instead of used.



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