As rising gas prices squeeze its fullsize truck sales, Ford Motor Co. is thinking of keeping the popular Ranger around for a little longer, according to sources close to the company’s future product plans.
Bryce G. Hoffman writes in The Detroit News that Ford may tack on another two years to the Ranger's life, continuing its production until 2011, when a new global version of the truck manufactured outside of the United States is expected. Ford is currently scheduled to end Ranger production next year and close the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the compact pickup is built.
Debuting in 1982 as a 1983 model, the Ranger is the most fuel-efficient compact pickup on the market today, getting 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Ford sold 36,421 Rangers by June of this year, a 2.3% increase over the same period last year, in stark contrast to the 18.7% beating that its fullsize F-series trucks have taken.
One downside to the Ranger rethink, for enthusiasts anyway, is an indefinite delay for the rumored high-performance F-150 SVT Raptor. The Hemi-fighter 6.2L V8 “Boss” engine is likely to be another casualty.
A Ford spokesman could not confirm the plans for The Detroit News.
Last year, truck enthusiasts who own Rangers spent more than $2,100 on specialty-equipment parts for their trucks. The top components purchased included high-flow air filter replacements, performance tires, custom wheels, bed liners (spray-in and/or drop-in) and exhaust kits.
For more specialty-equipment market research, please visit www.sema.org/research.