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Ford May Return to Small Pickup Market

But Detroit maker likely won’t use new Global Ranger for American market.

by on Oct.09, 2014

Ford still sells the Ranger around the world, but is reconsidering its decision to discontinue it in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. may be ready to reverse its long-standing decision to abandon the compact American pickup market. But the maker is struggling to find a design that will offer a true alternative to the best-selling Ford F-150 full-size truck.

Ford walked away from the small pickup segment in December 2011, when it abandoned the long-in-the-tooth Ranger. And it wasn’t alone. With small truck sales withering over the decades, Chrysler and General Motors also pulled the plug on their old models.

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But GM is back for 2015 with two new midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and if initial reviews and early orders are any indication, they could be major hits, challenging the aged trucks offered by Toyota and Nissan. (more…)

First Look: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Thai debut spices up introduction of new compact pickup.

by on Oct.05, 2011

The all-new Chevrolet Colorado makes its debut in Thailand before an upcoming U.S. launch.

When General Motors launches an all-new version of the Chevrolet Colorado in the months ahead it will be bucking conventional wisdom that says small pickups have fallen out of favor with American buyers.

That helps explain why GM took the wraps off the Chevy Colorado in Thailand, a market where demand is still straining manufacturers’ production capacity.  A prototype of the small truck was first unveiled at the Bangkok Motor Show last March.

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“This is a vehicle built tough for the people of Thailand, by the people of Thailand,” proclaimed GM Thailand President Martin Apfel, noting that the Asian nation will be just the first market for what he described as “GM’s most significant play in the midsize pickup truck market ever.”

Those in the States who have been eyeing the Colorado don’t need to worry.  It will make its way here in a hurry, with a preview scheduled for next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

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What Would It Take To Revive Ford Ranger?

The demise of the chicken tax?

by on Sep.02, 2010

Could Ford bring the new Thai- (or South African-) made Ranger to the U.S. after all?

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.

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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.

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