After a career spanning close to three decades with more than 6.6 million sales, Ford has decided to cease production of its Ranger light-pickup truck on December 19 and close its 86-year old Twin Cities Assembly Plant in Minnesota.
With the demise of the Ranger, Ford is leaving the light-truck segment, which it has led for no less than 18 years.
In the last few years, sales have been decreasing though: from 348,358 units in 1999, they dipped below 100,000 in 2006 – and never rose again. As a result, Ford has decided to focus on the larger F-150 series instead.
“We’ve got a tremendous heritage and history with Ranger,” Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager told the Detroit News. “The product has been very good and was true to the Built Ford Tough brand. But the environment changed with full-size trucks becoming so much more fuel-efficient.”
Blue Oval executives estimate that the price difference with the F-150 (less than $5,000) along with the Ranger’s disappointing sales did not make a case for a replacement.
Scott is ready to admit that his company is leaving this segment of the market to its rivals, like GM’s Colorado, and that some current Ranger owners will be disappointed. “A lot of our customers are not happy, obviously, that it is going away, and I imagine we will get more of that over the next month after Ranger goes out of production”, he said, adding that “some owners don’t understand why we would move away from the segment”.
He claims though that Ford “had to prioritize its resources in the last five years” – and the F-150 and Super Duty, obviously, were the chosen ones to receive the most attention.
Ford has introduced a successor to the Ranger for other markets around the world including the Asian / Pacific region and South America. The global Ranger is currently built in Thailand with plans to manufacturer the truck in Argentina and South Africa.