Just as the Ford Ranger was being reintroduced to the U.S. as a bigger, more expensive mid-size pickup, Ford also decided to kill off most of its smaller cars. So now it’s developing a new, smaller pickup to fill the void left behind by the old Ranger and all of those small cars.
Apparently plans are pretty far along, as Ford has already shown off plans for the truck at a dealer conference last month. From Automotive News:
COO Jim Farley and other executives showed off the still-unnamed pickup to roughly 100 of its highest-volume retailers at a multiday event in Tucson last month, according to some who attended. Ford has indicated to retailers the vehicle will be priced under $20,000, dealers told Automotive News, making it roughly $5,000 less expensive than the base version of the Ranger midsize pickup. One dealer said the sides of the vehicle resembled that of the original Ranger.
The small pickup, codenamed P758, is expected to be built at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, and have an annual volume of more than 100,000, suppliers have been told.
The current mid-size Ford Ranger starts at $24,410 in the U.S. and, considering all of the cars cheaper than that in Ford’s lineup will be dead in a year, Ford needs something cheap to take up the slack for the 166,045 Ford Fusions, 113,345 Ford Focuses and 60,148 Fiestas sold in those cars’ final full production years. The only thing in Ford’s lineup currently cheaper than the Ranger is the EcoSport crossover, which starts one dollar under $20,000.
Dealerships are concerned about losing entry-level customers if they have to choose between a compact crossover or a pickup that’s $5,000 more expensive than the compact crossover. Since Americans love trucks and enthusiasts have been begging for a new, actually-compact “compact pickup” for years, it seems like Ford’s plan could actually work.
After the new compact, Auto News reports the pickup lineup with expand to also include a Bronco-based model, alongside the Ranger, F-150, Super Duty, and this new compact guy.
On the one hand, I love the previous-generations of the Ford Ranger, and I think it’s smart for someone to finally challenge the old-as-shit Nissan Frontier, which is getting its own major upgrade next year too, in the compact pickup class.
On the other, I don’t want a pickup truck. I want a Fiesta ST with a manual. Looking at the sales numbers, I fail to see how we can’t do both. Is Ford the new GM?