Forbes magazine article asks, why the Nissan Frontier doesn't sell as well as the Ford Ranger, since by their estimation it's a better truck. They point out that the Ranger has been the class leader for sales over the last 18 years. Forbes also wonders why Ford doesn't redo the Ranger to compete with the growing "Compact" truck models from the competition.
OK, here I go off on a rant. Anyone who has read my blog, will know what a great truck I think the Ranger was and could be. Just look at the recent posts below and see what the Ranger could be. The PhotoShop photo from BlueOvalNews shows a handsome truck that could easily compete, based on Explorer chassis. And while it is only a PhotoShop image, it's possible. Imagine a Ranger with a 3 valve 300 hp 4.6 L V-8, that would put Ford at the top again.
GM's new Canyon/Colorado pickups (and their Isuzu clones) are based on the chassis for the new SUVs Trailblazer/Envoy ( and SAAB, Buick, etc..) These larger GM trucks have crew cabs like all the competition and with the 5 cylinder engine put out 220hp. Now it won't be long until GM offers their 275 hp Inline 6 in this truck to compete with Dodge's optional V-8 and the likes of Nissan's 265 hp V-6.
So why does Ford allow the Ranger to just die slowly? Forbe asks why Ford sells twice as many Rangers and then says that it's because they are heavilly dicounted. Possibly, but one other factor could be the tremendous Fleet sales of Rangers. Drive down the highway and see how many base Rangers are running around with corporate logos on them. Telephone companies, exterminators, car parts distributors, cable TV, maid services and lawn care companies, the list goes on. Rangers are being propped up by cheap fleet sales. In the southern states Rangers are also good transportation for people looking for cheap reliable transport and for kids wanting to modify them. Rangers are popular with the NOPI TV crowd and lowriders. But in the more profitable end of the pool, Nissan, Toyota, Dodge and GM are doing better with their crew cab, 4x4 "compact" trucks.
But the Ranger was the king of compact trucks at one time, and could be again.
One of the biggest mistakes Ford ever made was the Explorer Sport Trac. Instead Ford should have released the Crew Cab Ranger that they sell all over the glove. GM even had a crew cab on the S-10 pickup. To be in this class, you need to offer a crew cab and a more powerful optional engine. Ford's been relying on full size trucks and SUVs for too long in North America. With the price of fuel, that's going to be unwise. The Ranger is offered with a very good diesel engine around the globe, why not here? And don't tell me it won't seel, just look at what's going on with the new Jeep Liberty diesel model, they can't build them fast enough.
Ford, give the Ranger it's due, the truck has done well for you and us as consumers, don't let it die this horrible death. Will Ranger become one of those names that has to go into the vault only to return when people have forgotten how low it sank?
The new Sport Trac is fine, but it's not going to sell in the numbers that a Ranger would.
Why is the Ranger still a sales leader around the world?