It was once among the most popular trucks in America, but two recent events suggest the Ford Ranger will soon go away – or will it?
Despite the offer of significant new incentives from the State of Minnesota to keep open the current U.S. Ranger plant, Ford says the factory doesn’t have any use after 2012, when it plans to pull the truck from production. At the same time, Ford is investing $350 million – along with Japanese partner Mazda – in a Thai plant that will build the new Ranger. But there are no plans to bring that truck to the U.S.
Ford isn’t the only one fleeing the compact pickup segment at home. Chrysler has said the Dodge Dakota will end production next year, though 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. small pickup market.
The segment has declined steeply 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.