Can Ford Create a New Ranger?

Ford Transit Stakesides II

Illustrations by Mark Stehrenberger

There's been a lot of debate about whether Ford should get back into the entry-level pickup truck segment. Whether you call it compact or midsize, common sense dictates that many people are interested in a downsized pickup. Unfortunately, Ford has been clear from the beginning: Its data doesn't support investment in a midsize pickup anymore, and besides, most Ranger buyers simply stepped up to F-150s. We think that point is debatable and would suggest there may be more interest in this segment nowadays than ever before.

So far, General Motors is the only company talking about a "three-truck" strategy, where it will offer three clear pickup choices to consumers: small (Colorado and Canyon), medium (Silverado and Sierra) and large (Silverado Heavy Duty and Sierra HD) lineups.

But others could follow. We've been hearing that Nissan could jump into the heavy-duty segment (it makes heavy-duty platforms for the NV lineup). Likewise, we think it would make sense for Ford to experiment with a "small truck," especially since it has two strong and durable van platforms in the Transit Connect and larger Transit that could offer a new, more creative interpretation.

Imagine a new type of smallish pickup truck, possibly with a reinforced unibody chassis and a more modular, reconfigurable rear section. The only thing limiting the possibilities would be Ford's imagination. It has an excellent selection of engines, the load floor could be ridiculously wide and low, and the payload and hauling numbers could be class leading without much re-engineering.

So to give Ford a little push, we've asked forward-thinking design expert Mark Stehrenberger to give us a few looks at what a unibody small pickup might look like. What would a new Ranger or F-100 look like? Let us know what you think, and feel free to offer Ford your best piece of advice, assuming it is in the final stages of making this think-tank exercise a reality.

Ford Transit PU II


@ luke in CO

truck was loaded and i am in canada, unfotunately us canadians get royally screwed on prices compared to the states, I go to phoenix every year and almost cry when i see how cheap US prices are compared to ours...
the F150 was 42k normally priced but i got for 32k with employee pricing that they do every august

@dean.. Seriously? Have you been living under a rock?

When the Ranger left production, it was the #2 selling truck in it's class despite being in many ways the same for 20 years!!

Now, look at the Jeep Liberty diesels as an example...they sold every single one they made and then had orders they couldn't fill, thus proving that people DID want a small diesel option.

Now, if you take the #2 selling truck in it's class and add an option that Americans are dying for, which is a small diesel, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that they would have sold like hotcakes.

But instead of building something that people WANT...what does Ford do? They can the entire truck!

I'll say it again.. S T U P I D is the reason the big 3 almost became mutually bankrupt.

The problem with the big 3 is that for years they built what they wanted and then told the masses that's what they need, instead of building what the masses wanted to start with.

And, for the record apparently I know a lot more about the auto industry than you or "Frank" do.

@Robert Ryan... The article topic puts us the readers, to task on what Ford's compact might look like... That's exactly what my last post was about. If the Ranger were a compact, not a mid-size. 1000 lbs payload and 3000 towing (max) seem like reasonable numbers to me for a true compact

Personally, the "global" T6 Ranger would be my ultimate truck (CrewCab with a 6' bed). If the new current Ranger would be available in NA, I would bet it would be sold as a F-100 anyhow. I would assume the max towing/payload would be similar to it's south American and over seas spec with 2000 lb payload and 7000+ lb towing. (mind you this is maximum number found on the 5 cylinder 3.2 diesel. The smaller 2.2 diesel and gasoline engine are less.

If you look at the full range of engine options and payload/towing ratings for each spec, there is very little overlap between the T6 Ranger and F-150. You could say the same if a FWD uni-body compact were to show up in the line-up below the "global" Ranger if 1000/3000 lbs were the maximum payload/towing numbers (assuming at least two engine options).

I for one believe there is a market for BOTH a compact and a mid-size. It's sounds like Ford might give us a true compact and they already have a mid-size in other markets it would just be a matter of producing it somewhere in NA. It a matter of a couple of year we could see both a compact and mid-size from Ford, it's just a matter of the powers that be making that decision???

Anybody want to buy a 1990 F-150 XLT Lariat in surprisingly good condition (as a Survivor) for $6500? I've found exactly what I need in a trailer made to tow behind a Wrangler with a 2,000 pound capacity, a 6' bed and everything else I really need in utility hauling. It meets the need at a far lower price than any other new vehicle on the market. I just need the cash to purchase it.

"When the Ranger left production, it was the #2 selling truck in it's class despite being in many ways the same for 20 years!!"

That may be true, but being #2 in a certain market segment does not mean that Ford made money on it. Marketshare and profitability are two entirely different things.

Ford sold 70,000 Rangers in the last year of production. The plant which built them had a capacity of 200,000 Rangers per year - which means the plant ran at about 35% of capacity. Assembly plants have to run at 90%(more or less) of capacity to be profitable.

"Now, look at the Jeep Liberty diesels as an example...they sold every single one they made and then had orders they couldn't fill, thus proving that people DID want a small diesel option."

Let's say that Ford did what you say and offered a small diesel in the Ranger. Would doing so have boosted sales? Probably. Would it have boosted sales to 180,000 units/year, making the plant profitable? No! And let's not forget that sales of the diesel would have dropped off once the initial demand had been satisfied. With regard to the Liberty diesel, yes, people bought them, but it wasn't a significant contributor to Liberty sales. Remember, too, that Chrysler killed it due to EPA emissions rules. If it was such a sales - and profits - bonanza, Chrysler would have found a way to keep a Liberty diesel in production.

Profitability in the car business is markedly more complex than simply building and selling. If it was as simple as "build and sell," GM, as the #1 automaker worldwide, would have never gone bankrupt.

I would also like to point out that if all of these Internet message board Monday-morning quarterbacks(not just on here) who have railed against Ford for dropping the Ranger had actually bought Rangers when they were available, Ford might have kept it in production. Words are cheap, and sometimes it's smarter to just walk away from a shrinking market segment. You don't hear anyone railing against Ford for dropping out of the minivan segment, do you?

@ Glenn

amen, you made sense to me, there are many more variables then 40 people on a blog site saying hey i would have bought one, why is Ford so stupid to drop a truck, takes a few more then that to make any vehicle worth while to produce.

not even going to comment on whats his names post, had a weak moment where i saw red and posted after i swore i wouldnt post on stupid people and their posts any more...sigh

On the other hand, @dean, a single blog site is hardly representative of the overall market, is it?

Go out and look at the people driving vehicles like the Scion Xb, the Nissan Cube and other super-compact SUVs; they're not all kids.

Another variable that did nothing to help the Ranger's fate was the uniqueness of its platform. Back when the Explorer was built off a Ranger chassis, Ford could spread costs around, but once the Explorer started moving onto a more specialized platform in the early 2000s (and ultimately to Ford's D4 platform), the cost of building Rangers increased. I still believe there is a market for a compact pickup, but for Ford (or anyone) to build it profitably, it will have to be based off an existing platform. Modifying the Global C platform used on the Escape seems doable.

The problem Ford has is highlighted by a lot of posts that ask for a truck that simply doesn't exist. If you want a truck that can tow 5k, seats 4 adults, etc. you get an F150.... You can't get a small truck that gets 25 mpg and has all the same capabilities as an F150 - at least not in the next 15 years.

I leased an F150 ECO 4x4 Offroad (3.73) and averaged 15.4 MPG over two years. While I loved the power, I didn't need it so I sold it and bought a 4cyl manual Taco. I get 23 mpg hwy, can fill the bed with mulch and I still have 4x4 for the snow.

If Ford is going to build a F100, then they will have to compromise in some areas or they will end up building an F150 (again).

If Ford wants me back, then build the following:

- small (pre-2005 Tacoma small)
- load (carry 1000 lbs in the bed w/a 200 lb driver)
- 4 cyl (you can go diesel or eco if desired)
- manual & auto tranny
- tow 2k (SAE guidelines please)
- priced from $16-$28K

You build that and you would steal Taco sales all day long.

Luke, you're exactly right; to make a small truck profitable, it has to be done on an existing platform. The Global C would, in my opinion, be a very good platform for a true compact truck. A truck version of the Transit Connect wouldn't be that hard to do. Not sure where it would be built, though; it would have to be built in a plant already set up to manufacture Global C vehicles. I don't know if Michigan Assembly(Focus/C-MAX) or Louisville Assembly(Escape/future Lincoln MKC) have the capacity to do it. It could be built in Turkey, but there are issues with the chicken tax that would have to be addressed - and if demand were to take off, could enough vehicles be shipped stateside?

The really big question, though, is how much of a market exists for such a vehicle. Sure, Ford would sell some such trucks, but would it be enough to justify doing it? Only Ford knows the answer to that question, and they're not telling(ha ha).

I think tah if Ford saw a cost benifit to bringing the already designed T6 to the states or making a compact they would do it. On the Demographics of small pickup owners, i dont see many people my age (I'm 24) driving around in small pickups. My coworkers drive the following Ford Escape 2013, Chevy Tahoe Z71 2012, Doge Durango pervious gen with Hemi, 2010 BMW 335i, 2010 Ford Raptor (Me), 2012 silvarado z71 crew LT, 2006 Ram 2500 quad cab 4x4 with lift, Honda Ridgeline. Out side off heavily modified Crewcab tacoma 4x4s i don't know anyone in my age group who drives a less than half ton truck. most people my age will buy an older used halt ton or larger and eventually get to the point in their careers where they can buy a new truck from the dealer. I still havent owned a new Car in my life, i started with a 99 suburban LS 4x4 than 4 years latter got a used 2005 suburban z71 4x4 2.5 years latter i got a slightly used 5.4l Raptor, the first vehicle I owned that had a factory warrenty on it. When im in the market again i'll probably pony up on a newer raptor if they are going to be avalible on the next body style.

@Brian in NC,
Correct about that. Getting Ford in his case to commit would be the hardest part.

To all those who are saying, "If Ford could build a pickup with this, that, and the other thing and get 25 mpg, it would sell like hotcakes," don't you think they would if they could? Ford is a business; it's not just in their best interest, it's their prerogative to make money. Since they (or any other company) has yet to offer a compact truck that seats 4, holds 1000 lbs, tows 2000, and gets 25 mpg, it simply must be impossible at this point in time.

Not to say that it'll never happen. And sorry if I come off as too callous--nobody needs to be crucified for their dreams here. And if you yourself think you could make it work in the future, well, you should consider a career in auto design or manufacturing.

Slightly more on topic, I am personally a little uncomfortable with the thought of a FWD/AWD compact pickup. But I shouldn't be--most compacts are "lifestyle" pickups, and probably spend 90% of their time unloaded.

@David: As a second vehicle, a pickup truck has no need to carry 4 on a regular basis--though occasionally would not be unheard of. The problem is, because of their size and their comfort compared to smaller vehicles, Pickups have become the primary sedan of today--while SUVs are the family station wagon. Sure, some of those trucks get used as trucks, but rarely is it the more expensive models.

As such, a more compact truck--one fitting the kinds of specs you mention--could work better as that 'second vehicle' for all those who simply don't want a huge truck and as such are not likely to want a 4-door cabin. Offering one of these in a $16K-$25K price range would make it very appealing both for budget-minded services (who are now using small SUVs) and budget-minded homeowners. Sure, they're not going to have the profit margins of bigger trucks, but then, not everyone is willing to pay the price of those bigger trucks.

@ Vulpine: Agreed. It seems that since the RWD "land yacht" sedan has disappeared from our roads, its position as the family hauler has been replaced by the crew cab pickup. The downside of this being that there are possibly thousands of people who don't immediately think of a pickup as a _primarily_cargo_vehicle! Giving it a regular cab with a 7 foot bed like the compacts pickups of yesteryear would make this hypothetical compact pickup a great return to its roots.

Oops, that should be "compact pickups of yesteryear." I always try my best to use correct spelling, grammar, etc. I find it differentiates me from the multitude of juvenile posters on this site.

There were some well thought and valid counterpoints to my previous post. One thing to remember is that many of you are repeating the same thing some of us heard in the 1970's: "We know what Americans want - full size". Well, the Japanese handed it to us on a plate with that one, and many of you are too young to remember. With the energy situation headed the way it is, there will be a compact truck market again. Some manufacturer will benefit by getting a head-start. Unfortunately, Chevy's answer may be too large. A smaller, basic pickup will be it.

Ford could build a business case on a Transit Connect based pickup by platform sharing. They sell roughly 32,000 Transit Connect Cargo vans per year in the USA. They are releasing a passenger version of the same van. If it sells in the same range , that will give them 64,000 per year in sales. VW had said they'd need to sell 100,000 Amarok's in the USA to be profitable. If those numbers were to apply to Ford, they wouldn't need to sell a huge number of Transit Connect pickups to hit profitability from a USA based factory.

The dilemma for Ford is that it could potentially hurt the golden goose aka F series or another best seller like the Escape.

If Ford could figure out a way to convert a Transit Connect to a pickup post import, it would reach profitability at a lower sales end point.
How about a Transit Connect style unit with a removable or storable second seat, a folding bulkhead (i.e.Avalanche) and a detachable hard top (i.e. Jeep). A built in roll bar could be used if people wanted to keep the second row of seats (i.e. Jeep) or be used as a cargo rack.
It would import as a passenger vehicle and convert to an SUV or pickup or back as desired. Versatility would spread its appeal to a new generation of buyers.

It could be done.

@Vulpine--Good observation the typical truck in the crew cab configuration has morphed into the 21st Century family sedan but instead of a trunk it has a bed. The crew cab is like a Swiss Army knife it can do more than one thing. Eventually something else will come along as the family sedan, possibly come full circle into the family sedan. I agree most people don't need the full capabilities of a truck but then many will want 4 doors to haul around the family and this is where it gets a little tricky, after you add 4 doors and all wheel drive it is no longer a compact. If something like this truck were made it would have to be no bigger than an extended cab unless it were diesel and then the diesel would have to be not too much more than the gas version in price. This is an interesting concept but I do see some problems bringing it to market.

@NH Truck Guy... per your comment "The problem Ford has is highlighted by a lot of posts that ask for a truck that simply doesn't exist. If you want a truck that can tow 5k, seats 4 adults, etc. you get an F150.... You can't get a small truck that gets 25 mpg and has all the same capabilities as an F150 - at least not in the next 15 years."

Actually this truck already exist and it's smaller than an F-150. The T6 "global" Ranger already does this NOW with even higher payload and towing capacity than you mention. This whole article is an exercise of future possibilities, not the status quo of a market that hadn't seen new technology and innovative designs in more than a decade. If a mid-size truck with 2000/7000+ payload/towing can achieve almost 30 MPG, why couldn't an even smaller light weight compact with 1000/3000 payload/towing get even better fuel economy? The design possibilities listed in this article aren't that far fetched and this "think tank" exercise should have all of us wondering what we'll see before the next CAFE hurdle in 2017.

And for those who say those payload/towing numbers are too low, what about college students and urbanites who need a truck for hauling bulky items that don't weight that much? I'm talking about people that might need something to haul furniture, bikes, canoes/kayaks, bicycles, camping gear, moto-X bikes or tow jet ski's???

If platform and engine sharing (One Ford) for a true compact truck makes for a profitable business case, this WILL happen and much soon than 15 years from now. Also, you can bet that something like this would be an even larger success in markets with higher gasoline prices and narrower and more congested roads.

@Ralph - Compact trucks had been a niche product since the early '60s, and not anything with wide appeal for the masses. It was just a short episode in time when compact and mini-trucks were in style and part of the American lifestyle.

The '80s mini-truck craze was the 'perfect storm' and unless you know something the rest of us don't, why would we see a renaissance?

Of course, there's never been real demand or a need for compact trucks except for certain fleet buyers, but they really just want an open bed for light parcels (although often bulky), local parts/supply running, if not, paints, solvents and other chemicals they want separate from the driver, such as Orkin.

But without mainstream acceptance as a lifestyle vehicle, there's no real reason for OEMs to provide compact trucks.

The Mazda Miata/MX-5 is a perfect example. It's a "niche" that OEMs aren't much interested in, but there's enough consumer interest to support one OEM.

Why shouldn't Ford respond with an 'answer' to the Miata? As an enthusiast, I can blog about it all over, promising Ford I will buy one and so will all my friends. But Ford has to know they would mostly cannibalize existing Miata sales with lots of rebates.

Without 4 doors, a compact truck could never become mainstream/lifestyle. And you would think a compact truck with 4 doors would sell like Hot Cakes. The 4 door Subaru Baja was a sales flop.

I've got to agree with Josh.

i guess picture a 2 door (modern) escape with removable roof.

Posted by: Josh | May 14, 2013 10:34:43 AM

While I think the compact truck market was more than a "flash-in-the-pan", it has no doubt dwindled to nothing in this country. That said, I feel that some of the failed offerings suffered from lack of refinement. I like the cut-off Escape idea, but I think the classic Escape would have served the need better than the modern Escape. The vehicle, to earn "lifestyle" status and sell, needs to look a little rugged, not "cute" even if it suffers a bit aerodynamically. Make it something a man would drive and it might work, even if it is only aggressive-looking in style, this would appeal to both genders (think SUV vs. minivan).

The SportTrak Escape, the Baja and even the H2T all failed for one problem: Not Enough Bed. Sure, it might work for 3 or 4 bags of mulch or something softer like that, but it's not enough to carry a refrigerator or even a 45" flat-screen television. It's not the lack of weight capacity that hurt them, it's the lack of volume capacity. People who want a small truck want the bed big enough to carry that TV. They want to carry at least a 4'x4' piece of plywood. They may want the ability to carry that plywood uncut, which really means a minimum 5' bed with the tailgate up that could maybe offer an additional foot or foot and a half of support with the tailgate down and the load tied in. Even the Avalanche offered that much bed which is one reason why it was so popular for a while. Crew Cab pickup sales pretty well exploded once the Avalanche made the scene. Now some of those crew cabs are as luxurious and marginally less expensive than even the base Avalanche.

A new, compact pickup needs to offer that minimum volume capacity even if its load limit by weight is only 800-1000 pounds. It needs to offer good style and good aerodynamics to attain reasonable gas mileage (which we already know SUWs of that approximate size can already exceed 30mpg.) It does not need to be 'cutesey' as then it would again, as one person here puts it, a fad, but it does need to be functional for its smaller size. For the home DIYer, it needs a minimum of 100 miles range should it be electric or plug-in hybrid with a 300 mile range more effective for small businesses or fleet use by plumbers, electricians or yes, even pest control.

Just my 2 cents. I live in Mexico, and we've had both the F-150 AND the T6 Ranger selling side by side for a couple of months now.

From what I can see and from some friends working in FoMoCo Mexico, the real reason the T6 is not for sale in the US is it would definitely cannibalize F-150 sales. It can haul more than the F-150 in it's 5' box, here it's sold with a 164 hp i-4 which is enough, and all that at a price that far undercuts Tacoma.

A vehicle like that can only be seen as a threat to Ford's bread and butter!

Again, just my opinion.

I think there is a market for a small truck. But what it will compete with is not just the full-size truck but motorcycles. In my area motorcycles are increasingly gaining market share. But why? Is it just the fun of air flowing over you? The coolness factor? Is the fuel economy that much better over a car or truck? And at what cost, hauling only 1 person, maybe 2?

I think the truck has the potential of being "reinvented". And why not? What about the hybrid Toyota Prius? Look at all the things that are giving it high fuel economy. Low rolling resistance tires, all the design features that increase its aero performance. Why can't these be done on a truck? Not to mention that the average person can't afford a hybrid if something major goes ka-put! Only the well-heeled or railroads can afford to put in a new/rebuilt electric motor or main alternator (many don't know that locomotives use electric traction motors and main alternators)! Don't forget battery costs.

Diesel is out on a small truck, too high a start up cost for the customer in America - it must be gasoline. But a good small truck can compete with motorcycles in terms of cost and what I can do with it, and out of the rain too. Make it worth a person's while and they will sell.

The rub comes in on drawing the line about how big. Crewcab? How many can it haul? Four? Make it front wheel drive (gotta shorten the hood?)? And what about bed length? Flexibility will be key, as in having space that can used for hauling more people versus hauling more stuff. Pull that off neatly and efficiently and you HAVE reinvented the truck.

I for one am not interested in buying a motorcycle.

Fuel prices will have to get much higher than they are now before any manufacturer will even think of bringing a true compact pickup to the market and if this does happen it will not be a Detroit product but probably Chinese. Fuel prices will have to be $5 to $6 a gallon before enough demand is there. Detroit is usually last to the table with a smaller product as was the case with small cars and small trucks in the past. If the former Big 3 does eventually come out with another compact truck it will be a rebadged Chinese truck. Only time will tell what will happen but Detroit is usually last to the table with a new smaller product.

it's all about mileage. get me over 30mpg and we'll talk.

@Carlos Márquez said
"It can haul more than the F-150 in it's 5' box, here it's sold with a 164 hp i-4 which is enough, and all that at a price that far undercuts Tacoma.
A vehicle like that can only be seen AS A THREAT TO FORD's BREAD and BUTTER"

Carlos that is the PROBLEM. I cannot see it being introduced for that reason.

Actually the new Ranger is available with 3 engine options. The other two are 2.2 and 3.2 diesels. It's only the 3.2 liter 5 cylinder that has payload numbers that exceed the F-150. The F-150 base towing is higher than the new Ranger's. I don't see 300 lbs difference in max payload for one engine option a deal breaker when it comes to justifying why NOT to bring the Ranger to North America. Just my opinion. People like me who prefer the smaller physical size of a Ranger over a F-150 don't real care that much about the max payload or towing. If those number were crucial, the F-150 would be the obvious choice.

@ Briab ib NC,
"The F-150 base towing is higher than the new Ranger's. " In real terms it is not, that is what Carlos is hinting at. The Ranger T6 is only marginally smaller than a base F150.

"From what I can see and from some friends working in FoMoCo Mexico, the real reason the T6 is not for sale in the US IS IT WILL CANNIBALIZE F150 SALES. It can haul more than the F-150 in it's 5' box,"

@Brian in NC
The F250/F350's would not be affected but the F150 will. The T6 was created as an "Alternative F150" to be sold outside the NA. It uses diesel something a lot of Pickup owners in the US do not like to use.

Ford would be wise to built a small pickup truck, even one based on the transit connect. why deny you base the right to own a Ford truck? And after all you could sale it around the world with different name (like Brabo) were they have broncos already!

I currently drive an ancient Ford Ranger. I will never, ever, buy a Ford F-150, because it's too big.

In addition, other things being equal, a compact pickup with a modern engine will have better gas mileage than a full sized pickup.

If Ford built a compact pickup based upon Australia's Falcon Ute, it could considerably reduce the development cost of a compact pickup for NA. As long as the compact pickup could haul 4 x 8 sheets, had RWD for better traction while hauling, performed well in crash tests, had good MPG and torque, and had a base price under $20K I would be satisfied. Ford already has plans to offer a 3.2 Liter diesel engine for the Transit Connect. It would be great if Ford offered a 2.0-2.5 Liter diesel for a NA compact pickup. A diesel engine in this range would provide good enough low-end torque while considerably improving the MPG.

You also get a 5 Litre V8 the "Miami" a modified Coyote or the the Barra straight 6. The is 4 Litre engine comes turbocharged with either 365 hp and 380lbs of torque at 1900rpm or 410hp and 413lbs ft of torque at 2000rpm.

The more I have read, the more I must concede that there is a small minority that desire a true compact truck. I will say that I got a lot of work done with small trucks, from a Mazda B2000, a Ranger, and a early Frontier. The big plus for me was that they were nimble enough to drive around in mountainous areas and had enough capability to haul enough material for a serious DIYer (including building a house). Times change and we now live in a super-sized world. I am glad I had a choice then. Having owned both the before-mentioned compacts and a new '97 F-150 XLT, my fond memories are with the compacts.

Ford already makes a RWD Falcon Ute in Australia. As long as it can haul 4 x 8 sheets with the tailgate down, I say bring it to NA. It is a platform that is already developed so there won't be the up front design costs, from what I read it does well in crash tests, and if they put a small diesel in it - it would get good MPG and torque. What's not to like?

@Dr.Lou - it would be highly unlikely that any foreign made truck/ute will find their way into the USA unless the USA signs free trade agreements with countries that make small trucks/utes.
Barack Obama has been petitioned to keep the USA out of Free Trade talks with Japan because of fears that the USA auto industry would not survive a level playing field without the 25% chicken tax on trucks or 2.5% tax on cars.

Proof #1.

"Refreshing honesty comes from a surprising camp. Four dozen democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to President Barak Obama, warning against a free trade agreement with Japan. The alleged closed market found only passing mention. The lawmakers don’t worry about exports to Japan. They are worried about imports from Japan. Says the letter:
“In an industry with razor-thin profit margins, the elimination of the 2.5 percent car tariff (as well as the 25 percent truck tariff) would be a major benefit to Japan without any gain for a vital American industry, leading to more Japanese imports, less American production and fewer American jobs.”
What Detroit is REALLY worried about is a fall of the Chicken Tax. Detroit has a near monopoly on trucks, which drive its profits.

When the USA closed the "chassis cab" loophole in 1980, import truck prices went up 23% in price and domestic small truck prices went up 29% in 3 years. That effectively handed the market to USA auto makers.

@Dr.Lou - here is more information. I have to split it up so this site's anti-spam software doesn't kill my posts.

"In 1963, the Federal Republic of Germany announced that its domestic poultry industry needed protection from imported poultry, primarily from the United States, and tripled tariffs on imported poultry. 2 In the Fall of 1963, the Johnson Administration retaliated by raising the tariff on imported trucks, brandy, dextrine, and potato starch to 25%. 13 The original purpose of this tariff was to retaliate against the
German government for increasing the duty on frozen chickens by making it more costly to sell trucks in the United States, thereby reducing German truck exports to the United States. 4 Although the United States government repealed the tariff on such items as brandy and potato starch, the 25% duty on trucks remains in force to this day."5 Even though the United States achieved its objectives, 16 the American consumer and the German truck industry have incurred an economic cost. This "chicken tax" led Volkswagen to discontinue sales of its pickup truck line in the United States, thereby eliminating a large segment of imported German trucks from the United States market."7 11.
In 1980, the United States "applied" the "chicken tax" tariff to imported Japanese trucks and cab chassis, which then became subject to a 25% tariff rate. 8 In 1984, the Japanese automobile industry challenged the United States classification of lightweight trucks and cab chassis as finished trucks because the new classification significantly increased the
tariffs on Japanese imported lightweight trucks and cab chassis.' The Court of International Trade upheld the cab chassis classification and the 25% tariff and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the decision.' Once again, the cost to consumers was dramatic: over the next three years, this tariff led to more than a 23% increase in imported truck prices while the price of American-made compact trucks increased by 29%." Ironically, the Japanese auto industry remains the principal target of this tariff despite the chicken tariff's rather limited purpose and even though Japan imports more United States poultry products than any
other country."

Ford already has a new Ranger. They just don't sell it in the US. Demand for the Ranger dropped because of failure to modernize it for 20+ years. The real reason they don't want to sell the new one here is profit. They make much more money off of each F series than they do with the Ranger. By limiting your choice you are forced to buy the F series.

@Lou - I miss a lot of things from the '80s too, but there's no need to get all misty eyed and angry at the CIA, NASA, FBI or whoever you feel hates and somehow controls "fads" or fashion.

Mini-trucks were 'Yesterday's News' by the time the SUV craze hit. Just like the automotive "fads" that came before mini-trucks. That's 'life', get over it.

The mini-truck craze/fad/invasion also got hammered when sports cars, pony cars, sporty 2+2s, and 2-seaters all made a comeback in grand style... Many of these were from Japan including new luxury brands, fresh on the seen. Not to mention convertible versions of all these were a "fad" in themselves plus drop tops in everything from Geo Metros to Dakotas.

I miss the whole mini-truck scene/subculture too, but it was time to move on, buddy.

@Lou - The 1st thing you got wrong is your 'link' was talking about Japanese cars that went up in price, about 23%, not trucks. In 1981, and under pressure from the Reagan Admin, Japan voluntarily agreed (VRA) to limit car exports to the US to only 1.65 million cars. Japanese OEMs quickly doubled down on pickup truck exports since they were never part of the "agreement".

The VRA/limit set the stage for the whole mini-truck craze/fad/invasion with Japan strategically dumping cheap pickups on the US by the 100,000s.
It was perfect timing too. We were done with the muscle cars, custom/molester van and land yachts "fads", all of which were gas sucking pigs. And at a time, the whole Oil Embargo was still fresh on our minds and mini-trucks were obviously cheap and gas sippers on top of the latest "fad".

Japan also made the best of that export 'quota' by inventing luxury brands to export. Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and tarted up 929s and Diamantes.

By 1984, Chevy's S10 base price was $6,993 and Nissan's pickup was $5,634. Then by the mid to late '80s, Japanese OEMs had a handle on building cars in the US and luxo brands were taking hold. There was no reason to keep dumping cheap, less profitable pickups on US consumers, including their own car buyers.

The approx 23% price hike in Japanese cars, after '81 was caused by them being built in the US from about 25% US parts content. This cut profit margins by around $1,000 per car. Some import dealers were charging up to $2,000 over MSRP on some cars. Domestic dealers joined in the price gouging, but so did European brands. It's a good thing they did, just for the sake of normalizing Japanese car (selling) prices.

The "chassis cab" loophole ended in Jan, 1980, but what did that change? Yes import trucks became subject to the 25% tariff, but same as always. The Chicken tax wasn't in 'question' for trucks. The question was whether to hit 2-door SUVs with it. The Pathfinder, 4Runner, and others quickly found '4-doors', before it became an issue.

Then the SUV craze when absolute nutz... Sport cars, pony cars and sporty 2+2s came back with avengeance too. With a few compact 2-seaters thrown in. Convertibles also came back from a deep hibernation.

If there's any cause for 'worrying' from 'the end' of the Chicken tax, it would be from all OEMs that sell compact to mid-size cars and SUV, crossovers and wagens. Trucks from VW, GW, Proton, Isuzu and such, wouldn't really be in direct competition with full-size trucks. And they still have to meet DOT standards and of course, sell in quantities deemed profitable.. Even with zero tariffs. There's more cause for 'worrying' from those Tundra/Titans if not Tacomas/Frontiers. Might as well "worry" about that Chevy Colorado too!

Btw, my dad bought a new Nissan Hard Body stripper for under $6,000 w/ rebates, in '88. When it comes to "fads", he's always late to the party.

I still owe you the sources, but I always make 'good'. There's a heap of them.

@bob m - exactly. Why kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

@Lou - Thanks for the link on "Chicken Tax".

@Lou - This quote is from your link:

"While the US agreed to reduce its tariff rate on motor vehicles for the transport of persons to a 2.5% rate during the Tokyo Round negotiations, the US bound the tariff rate for multi-purpose (MPV) vehicles at the higher 25%..."

You're totally confused and took that to mean import "trucks" or pickups when the subject was import SUVs and mini-vans:

"One of the most contentious issues in international trade law today is whether the reclassification of multi-purpose vehicles—including 2-door and 4-door SUVs and minivans—constitutes..."

Nowhere does it mention imported "trucks". Complete waste of time. Reading is fundamental.

"...asserting that and increase in tariffs would lead to a similar result as the voluntary restraint agreement (VRA) of the early '80s, namely the dramatic increase in the price of imported vehicles. In '84, Japanese cars sold for 22.6% more that they would have without the qoutas (or limit of cars)"

These next quotes are from:

"In 1981, Japan bowed to pressure from the United States and signed on to what was inaccurately known as a Voluntary Restraint Agreement. In a move that was by no means voluntary, Japanese carmakers' exports were capped by a series of annual "quotas", starting in 1982."

"The (Japanese) carmakers, meanwhile, dealt with the quotas (cap) in an economically rational manner. If they couldn't raise their volumes, they would raise their profits on every unit they sold. They filled as much of their quotas as they could with their top-of-the-line models and piled on the expensive factory options."

"That pushed up the prices of Japanese cars during the 1980s. Some U.S. dealers charged as much as a $2,000 premium (29%) for a $7,000 Toyota."

"Since the (VRA) restraints ONLY COVERED CARS, Japanese automakers responded by selling trucks by the hundreds of thousands. It also prompted most of the Japanese companies to build factories in America."

This link gives you a good idea of prices in the '80s. Like the '84 S10 @ $6,993 and the '84 Nissan pickup @ $5,634:

@Dr.Lou - thanks.

Just stretch a ford fiesta chassis, done!
Look at the fiat strada or the South American Chevy Montana.

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