2019 Ranger: 5 Things Ford Needs to Get Right

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By Aaron Bragman

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford confirmed many truck fans' hopes and dreams by announcing the return of the mid-size Ranger pickup truck and a new Bronco SUV. Ford said the Ranger will be available for model year 2019 and the Bronco will follow a year later.

Ford has been selling a mid-size global Ranger for several years. It's almost the size of a mid-1990s F-150 and within an inch of every dimension of the Chevrolet Colorado sold in the U.S. We, along with much of the pickup truck community, have been begging Ford to bring the Ranger back to the U.S. to provide a less expensive, more maneuverable and easier-to-park alternative to its larger pickups, but the company has maintained that the Ranger wasn't right for North America anymore. Ford said it was too close in price and size to the F-150, that there wasn't demand for such a truck and that buyers' needs were being met with base models of the F-150.

So what changed Ford's mind? We think it's the success of the Colorado and GMC Canyon. GM doesn't break out the sales numbers for its light-duty and heavy-duty pickups; they are lumped into one number. But we think that the sales success of the mid-size Colorado and Canyon (the plant can't build them fast enough) has not come at the expense of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra sales, as some had predicted. That apparently convinced Ford business planners to bring the Ranger back to its country of origin, accompanied by a Bronco variant as well.

With little information available regarding what will actually hit showrooms, we've come up with five things that we think Ford needs to get right in order to make sure the Ranger is a success when it arrives.

 

1. Take Advantage of Pickup Buyers' Long Memories

The excitement across social media and at the Detroit auto show after the Ranger announcement was palpable. Folks really miss the Ranger, and fans of the nameplate have been lamenting that there hasn't been one in the U.S. since production of the previous one ended with model-year 2011. Perhaps the only thing more anticipated than the new Ranger is the new Bronco, which has the internet running wild with speculation on what it will look like.

2. Make Sure the Bronco Is Legit

The Bronco will be based off of the Ranger, much like the international Everest SUV is based off of the current global Ranger. Ford insists that whatever Bronco arrives in the U.S. in 2020 will not be the Everest. Ford promises a true off-road machine in the style of the Jeep Wrangler, and intel has surfaced that it will be equipped with Dana solid axles front and rear (just like a Wrangler) to back up that claim. If the Bronco is legit and popular, that will only help the Ranger's business case, as the incremental volume added to the plant to produce the Bronco on the Ranger line will help drive profitability for Ford.

3. Price It Differently Than the F-150

Ford has been worried that it can't build the new Ranger cheaply enough to keep it from encroaching on the F-150's price range, and that's a real concern. But the buyers of the Colorado and Silverado have turned out to be two different animals, looking for different things in a truck. Buyers aren't afraid to spend some coin on a well-equipped Colorado (loaded, it can easily top $50,000), so some overlap is inevitable. But charging too much for the smaller truck could be an issue.

4. Don't Make It Too Big

The current global Ranger is much bigger than the previous North American Ranger, but it's a completely different truck. The global Ranger is just a hair smaller than the Colorado in nearly every dimension, so keeping it the same size would probably be the best idea. There's a real demand for a much smaller, simpler, less-expensive truck (which is why Nissan sells tens of thousands of tiny, decade-old Frontiers every year), but it's unlikely the Ranger will follow this path.

5. Have a Good Explanation for the Delay

The gap between the last U.S. Ranger and the new U.S. Ranger will be nearly eight years — eight years of Ford telling us that nobody wanted a new Ranger, that buyers were happy with base-level F-150s and Ford Transit Connect vans instead. Ford has to come up with a good reason for why it's taken so long to bring us a new Ranger, and why Ford suddenly changed its mind. We're looking forward to hearing that explanation, but we're even more excited about having a couple of serious new trucks to play with.

Manufacturer images

 

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Comments

The Tunland in a couple of years will be a fine pickup.

It's Cummins powered, has a Getrag gearbox, Borg Warner transfer case, Dana axles, Bosch electronics, etc.

The bed is a shade under 8' which would make it the longest midsizer bed we have.

In Australia the high end version is $36 000AUD or if we use the US pickup price to Australian pickup price converter it would be about $23 000USD. That's a 4x4 twin cab, with leather and power everything including AirCon.

That's why the Big 3 don't want the Chicken Tax to be removed.

It will take the US 20 years to liberalise its vehicle manufacturing/market, like it took us since we started to liberalise in the early 80s. The changes to your market can't happen overnight.

Lou,
I have not heard of you. The only other person to call Big All is that arrogant guy, papajim. The Dodge and Chev boys are more tolerable than him. He seems to be divisive, causing dissention, an A'hole.

I actually Googled overseas prices for the Ranger. These prices are not with discounts. The Ranger is that popular in many countries discounts are hard to find. I did see other brands with discounts of over $5,000.00 making a high end diesel four wheel drive pick up be had from around $30,000.00.

Your preference for a pickup, like that Silverado has obviously been ignored by hundreds of thousands, even millions if the global market is considered. You are not representative of the whole vehicle or pickup market. Nice talking to you.

If labor unions are such a huge cost. Why aren't vehicles made in Mexico a lot cheaper.
People like you complain that American workers are making 60 dollars an hour. And Mexican factories are paying 8/hour.

But trucks made in Mexico are not cheaper than those made in america.

And NAFTA eliminated the chicken tax on trucks made in Mexico.

The truth is that with all the automation there is only a small labor impact on vehicles.

All the sub contracting of parts causes there to be a huge overhead for management and a tremendous expense for CEO etc for the many small companies involved.

What was intended to be a union busting tactic. Only resulted in there being a huge transfer of cost from labor to managment.

I just made a post and it is no longer on the site.

Posted by: Wild Willy | Jan 28, 2017 12:27:50 PM

Lucky you - they delete all my posts...c'mon PUTC...what's up?!!

@ GMSRGREAT,

It's hurting Silverado sales and Ford F-150 will continue to dominate!

Posted by: oxi | Jan 28, 2017 11:50:47 AM

So you think GM should drop the Colorado, or still offer it and continue to be the sales leader?

Ford spends $$$ big money on marketing but all they have to do is listen to some of the great ideas posted here on PUTC.

Listen to what the buyer wants!

What they fail to understand is truck owners want a UNIQUE truck that makes it special the way they want and love it.
That's the main reason why I and others say to make it into a modular truck.
Other ideas of easy changes of lift height and wheelbase and sizes and types of beds and maybe even fold down fenders, interchangeable dash gauges, seats. My idea of a modular bed such as the sides of the bed that fold down would please the growing number of truck owners that haul ATV-UTV's and hauling big wide items that would make it easier to load and unload.
If you want to transform it to an off-road truck or a commuter vehicle that seats 7 people it could be done plus it would appeal to a broader based consumer.
This would be a new revolution in pickup trucks making it exciting.
Speaking for myself I don't want a new pickup truck cause no new pickup excites me
Take a look at the motorcycle business, every year they come out with a new redesigned motorcycle and everybody wants one!

Ford needs to build a crew cab midsize truck that sells in the same price range as the crew cab Frontier.

GM missed the boat aiming at the higher priced trucks, which hurt Silverado/Sierra sales and left the value-price shopper alone with Nissan.

Try finding a GM midsize on dealer lots for under 30k! When you do succeed in finding one it's a four cylinder stripper built to satisfy the fleet procurement types.

Nissan had huge sales of Frontiers last year because you can buy a well equipped SV crew cab for under 30k.

Ford will be smart not to miss that opportunity. As old and outdated as the Frontier is, and GM missing that price target, Ford gets the price point all to themselves, without hurting sales of F150 XLTs.

@oxi--Your Tacoma is going to lose sales to a new Ranger and the Colorado/Canyon are directly effecting sales of Tacomas. There is only so long Toyota can live off their reputation. The competition will be fierce in the next few years.

@Jeff S, The Ranger is too late.

There was a time in 2004 when the Ranger outsold the Tacoma, but you do release that was 12 years ago.

Could the new Ranger outsell the Tacoma? Maybe. but that is years away. My statement stands. Jeff S is in a time warp of 12-20 years ago when Ranger was king. You are wrong and papa jim is right.

BankruptinPA,
From what I've witnessed at this site the manufacturers need to keep clear. Most comments are pure nonsense.

Just look at what occurred to me in this article.

This site is full off problematic brand orientated kids and a what appears a person using other peoples names and iterations of peoples names, ie troles. To me it seems to emanate from boopagim. This guy takes the cake for divisiness. I've noticed this from the little and short time I've made maybe 10 comments in the past 6 months.

Why doesn't this site police the comments?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpWyE3hKwE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpWyE3hKwE

Ram 700. 'nuff said.

Solid axles?

Ford never confirmed solid axles. They confirmed that Dana is going to supply the axles. That's all.

The same company that supplies the axles for the new Jeep Wrangler JL is going to supply the axles for Ranger/Bronco...but that doesn't mean they'll be the exact same axles.

@roadwhale

Ram 700

Do you mean the one with a 1.6-liter engine making 115 horsepower and 119 foot-pounds of torque?. Weighs 2,577 pounds and measures 107 or 108.3 inches between the wheels, the longer wheelbase for the quad cab.

The payload capacity is rated at an optimistic 1,550 pounds. Are there any recent stats about American preferences that would make you think this little truck would sell?

Papajim,
Why don't you prove otherwise.

Where does it state this small pickup will not sell. The biggest issue with this type of vehicle are the inability to import and the manufacturers not wanting to surrender the 25% profit of US made pickups.

I think the lack of this type of vehicle here in America is more manufacturer driven than consumer. I would think a factory would need to make 10s of thousands of these to be profitable. So why not import these for the few.

Judging by your comments and your fixation on full size pickups makes me think you were one of those critical of midsize pickups. ;)

Why don't you prove otherwise. Where does it state this small pickup will not sell.

@Bill Willy, Wild Willy, BAFO and more...

Take a gander at the US marketplace for autos over the last 75 years. Bigger, bigger and bigger.

Apart from a brief panic over gas prices during the 1970s, American consumers buy the biggest and most powerful SUVs and pickups their governments in Sacramento and Washington DC allow them to.

Unlike your own musings over hybrids, aluminum and diesel, American consumers last year put their money on big trucks and big SUVs. Small cars? Not so much.

In fact, despite advertising on the 2016 Super Bowl and lots of media hype, the Ridgeline did not sell well.

So, you might be beating the wrong drum dude.

I had a 2011 Ranger Sport and liked it except it only came with a V-6 engine and it got terrible gas mileage. An up to date 4 cylinder engine would be fine for most people. I don't know what the rear axle ratio was but it could have been lower for me. That would have improved the mileage some and decreased the sound level. The Sport was supposed to be top of the line but it had NO carpet. The inside was pretty cheap looking vinyl/plastic and the upholstery was very cheap. It had nothing you'd expect on a top of the line model--no automatic on headlights, no overhead console with reading lights, no 12 volt auxiliary power outlets, etc. It was an extended cab and the back seat area was really very small. It could easily have used another inch or two of space. But overall, the size of the truck was OK.

I don't know what the rear axle ratio was but it could have been lower for me.

@Michael

You don't mention whether or not your Ranger was an automatic, but assuming it was, that model came standard with a 4.10 axle ratio, which is certainly low enough.

If you actually meant to say you wanted a lower (numerical) rear gear, that choice was a 3.73 and if I remember right it was only installed on the Rangers that had manual trans. All this might have been different for the 4x4 models.

The very outdated 4.0 V6 that Ford offered as an option on the Rangers in 2011 was not a very well remembered engine. Go to a NAPA auto parts store and listen to the horror stories from their desk personnel about matching the right plugs, thermostats, intake manifolds, etc, for the Rangers of that vintage. Not Ford's best day at the track.

Sadly, Ford also had a 3.0 V6 that was actually a very fine little motor and only Ford's brass can explain why they dropped the 3.0 in favor of the bigger motor. The 3.0's were called Vulcans and they were WAY better than the competing engines from Chevy and Ram in those days.

The Ranger four cylinder from those days wasn't bad but Ford cheaped-out on features that would have made it much better at a modest additional cost. Ford and Mazda had a really peppy 2.3 turbo engine in those days that would have been awesome as an option in the Ranger. Who knows why it wasn't.


It's pretty simple to me. I see Mercedes is now in the small pick-up race. Ford is worried about hurting the F150 sales but if they don't get in the race the smaller pick-up buyer that was loyal to Ford very well might go to brand x to get what he wants.

Build it and the will come.

3 things

1. Make a Raptor model

2. Make a King Ranch model.

3. Don't get over low 40's price for any model.

I agree with the poster that said you need LARGE payload on a small platform, Toyota in the late 80's had a long bed SR-5, a small, compact pickup with a 7 1/2 foot bed. Keep them LOWER to the ground so you don't have a high liftover, make a truck that is good for the WORKMAN, and it will sell.

I've owned two Ranger 4x2's, and loved them! I'm glad to see that the Ford Ranger is back in town!

I'd be interested in the two-door, long bed, 4x4.

Thank you, Ford Motor Company!

K.I.S.S. I would like to see it with a bed wide enough for a 4'X8' sheets of plywood fit laying down.

Two things:

1) Longer bed (option)
2) I hope it’s not a huge, expensive pain to work on as it ages.

I am, however, very content with my 2007 Ford Ranger, with the 7’ bed, BFT package, 4.0 SOHC, manual transmission, XLT, 4WD. It seems a little bigger and more equipped than most “compact” pickups. I plow snow with it, have for 7 years. I haul things in the bed. Heck, it’s passenger and cargo weight limit is 1,313 pounds, making it, functionally, a 1/2 ton pickup. On top of that, it’s never been garaged, I only wax it once a year and the paint still shines nice! I’ll probably end up rebuilding it completely, in another decade.

I have a 2010 Ranger and have found this size truck to be very handy. It carries a good payload and is easy to load and unload. It is great for hauling and running errands. This is my third Ranger, and I think Ford got it right many years ago. There is no reason it won't work again.



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