Ford and UAW are in talks to bring back the Ford Ranger name to the US market.
The year was 2011 and it was the last year that Ford offered the Ford Ranger for sale. Thanks to our motoring friends over at Auto News earlier today (Aug. 25, 2015) it looks like that storied nameplate is poised to make a comeback thanks to the UAW in conjunction with Ford management. The Michigan assembly plant currently produces the Ford Focus and C-Max, but by 2018 both those cars are scheduled to be made somewhere else (rumor is Mexico.) That leaves plenty of space, tooling, and an able-bodied workforce ready to take on the next challenge. That’s where Ford Ranger comes into play.
The last time we saw the Ford Ranger it looks like Ford literally took a shrink ray to its bigger brother the F-150 and put it on a showroom floor. But we Americans loved it precisely because it was tough looking, rugged and had plenty of functionality despite not being a full sized pickup. Although there was a slight resurgence in sales in 2011, our beloved trucklette received the axe.
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That doesn’t mean the Ford Ranger brand ended. In fact, Ford introduced a Ranger replacement for other markets worldwide that wouldn’t be sold in Canada and the United States. In its current state, it’s not the same truck we remember. In fact it’s a lot closer to the F-150 in size, largely why Ford hasn’t sold it in the United States. Oh, there’s the 25 percent chicken tax that every Ford Ranger would incur since they’re only being currently made in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina. Nonetheless, the Ford Ranger in other markets has performed well and received rave reviews being best in class for its abilities but at the same time, being a comfortable day-to-day vehicle.
If Ford does decide to revive the Ford Ranger name here in America we imagine they’d stuff one of their smaller EcoBoost engines under the hood to replace the 2.5-liter Duratecs currently being used in other markets. Ford does option out their Rangers overseas with either a 2.2 or 3.2 Duratorque turbo diesels. The 3.2 turbo diesel is actually in use in our North American-spec Ford Transits although they’ve been relabeled as Power Stroke’s. And with development of the Ranger already ongoing, retooling and training of the Michigan plant should go smoothly.
Truck enthusiasts here in the United States certainly do miss the Ford Ranger and fans of the blue oval really don’t want to head put a down payment for a Colorado or Tacoma if they have to. But if sales of Tacoma and Colorado pick up even more steam, it would behoove Ford’s bean counters to dust off the Ranger name.