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Will The Ford Ranger Come Back to the U.S.?

Hindsight as they say is 20/20. Now that Ford has discontinued the Ranger hoping that these customers would move up to an F-150 instead (they aren’t), will Ford ever bring the Ranger back to the U.S.? Ford compact truck fans are really hoping so.

Will Ford Bring the Ranger Back?

One thing for sure is that the Global Ford Ranger is one sharp compact pickup. Will we ever get a chance to buy one in the U.S.?

When the last Ranger rolled off the line in December, 2011, customers were left wondering what the deal was. Ford publicly said that Ranger sales were not as strong as they used to be. This is because the buying incentive of higher MPG with compact trucks wasn’t true anymore. They spoke about how little the differences between the F-150 and Ranger were. Specifically, fuel economy and MSRP were really close between the two. They wondered why customers would buy a Ranger when the F-150 was available. It seemed like good logic. But what is the reality, do customers agree?

Many Ford dealers and car buying sites like Edmnuds.com are saying that the answer is no. Specifically, compact truck buyers simply don’t want that large of a pickup. They prefer the smaller size and maneuverability of the compact truck. In fact, Toyota Tacoma sales are up with many former Ranger owners buying them instead of the larger F-150.

Also, hurting the perception that customers would simply move up are small businesses like Orkin. According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, Orkin leases a fleet of 5,000 Ford Rangers and buys 2,000 of them annually. Recently they decided that the F-150 wasn’t the right truck for their business. Instead they are now transitioning their fleet from Ford Rangers to Toyota Tacomas. That’s quite a bit of business for Ford to lose.

There is, though, still a Ford Ranger on the market. It is called the Global Ford Ranger, yet it is not for sale in the U.S. By some accounts, the Global Ranger is quite the diesel-powered compact pickup. It recently beat several other compact trucks in a shootout by PickupTrucks.com. It is an impressive vehicle that fits a niche. Ford fans wonder how hard would it be to simply through a gasoline engine in it and bring it to the U.S. Sounds easy right?

Not likely to happen anytime soon. We were recently told by a Ford contact that they are working on developing a new marketing plan that will focus on advertising the base level F-150 as an affordable, entry pickup. The source said this was in response to Dodge which it sees a developing a similar campaign. While the source won’t confirm it, we wondered if the advertising plan wasn’t instead focusing on stemming the loss of Ranger customers.

There is also a thought out there that the new CAFE standards will have Ford considering building smaller, more fuel-efficient pickup. Chevy seems to think so since they are bringing a new Colorado to the market that will have a diesel engine in 2014, according to our Chevy source.

What will the future hold for the Ford Ranger? By all accounts, it had an impressive run lasting almost 30 years. Will the new CAFE standards and changing customer needs mean that Ford Executives admit their error and bring the Ford Ranger back to the U.S.?

38 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sylvain #

    Its funny that you mentioned ford swapping the diesel engine out for a gasoline one. I just don’t understand y they would, and do do that whenever they bring a European car to north America. Are we unworthy of 40+ mpg and are forced to buy more gas which is quite an expense nowadays.

    January 28, 2013
    • Tim Esterdahl #

      Sylvain,

      Agreed that they tease us with diesel and then pull it out. Unfortunately, the EPA standards have played a large role in this for many years.

      -Tim

      January 30, 2013
  2. perfect truck for me… I would honestly buy one tommorow. Oh well … its on Nissan, here we go, whole new Frontier.

    January 31, 2013
  3. Tom #

    Bought a loaded 150 since I can’t get a Ranger and its about the nicest truck I’ve ever owned but its too darn BIG! After owning only Fords my whole life I can’t believe I’m actually looking at Tacoma’s. Feels like a slap in the face for all my loyalty to Ford.

    February 10, 2013
  4. Dave #

    Ford lost me as a new customer. I don’t want a big truck, I want a tough small truck. I have an ’01 Sport Trak that I have asked to do more than it was designed for and it has responded very well. I’m in the market to replace it now with a small truck and willing to buy new, but there is nothing out there that interests me. Guess I’ll be buying a used Ranger.

    Don’t blame the EPA about diesels. New diesels meet the standards and provide the improved mpg. We have a 2011 VW turbo diesel.

    February 24, 2013
  5. I agree. I would buy one tomorrow. The small diesel 5 cyl. would be nice. I too have been a Ford man my whole life and I currently own a 96 F150 and it is time to buy another truck. It will not be another F150, they are too big . I will be looking at the foreign trucks…

    February 27, 2013
  6. Titaniumcrank #

    I bought a Ranger in 94, loved it, killed it. Needed something for kids and bought an ’04 F-150. Hated it, too big. Got rid of it 3 years later for a Sport Trac. In the process, with firewood, of killing it. I, too have always driven Fords. I don’t think I could bring myself to buy foreign.

    March 2, 2013
    • Jonas Laidlaw #

      The Toyota Tacoma is not foreign! They are built in California.

      April 4, 2013
      • Tim Esterdahl #

        The Tacoma is built in Texas actually.

        -Tim

        April 4, 2013
        • Barry #

          Toyota is still a Japanese Company..

          August 18, 2013
          • Tim Esterdahl #

            Not arguing that one. Just trying to keep this site factual.

            -Tim

            September 12, 2013
      • thatoneguy #

        And designed in japan

        January 13, 2014
      • M W #

        Toyota is a Japanese company and while it’s nice they have manufacturing facilities here to assemble some of their vehicles in the U.S., the lion’s share of the profits go back to Japan. To add insult to injury, Japan has a very nasty habit of being extremely protectionist and has all kinds of roadblocks in place to prohibit many American products from being sold there. If they were more willing to be a proper, reciprocal trading partner, I would not feel so strongly about not supporting their companies (international trade can be a wonderful thing when it’s reciprocal).

        June 7, 2014
  7. alan #

    i just wish that they would bring the ranger back i like the f-150 but i still like the ranger cause it a tough little truck.

    March 8, 2013
  8. john hawthorne #

    I am also waiting for the ranger to return .I would purchase one tomorrow,I have a F150 have loved it but will not buy another one.

    March 10, 2013
  9. dave cooper #

    I have had 7 rangers inthe last 25 years. Love everything about the truck. had an 09 ranger sport that i totaled and all i could find was an 04 fx4 supercab with only 40,000 miles. great truck. if ford cant get theyre act together and reintroduce another compact pickup ill drive this one until the wheels fall off. I have a friend that has a 2001 4×2 supercab ranger xlt with 260000 miles. with hardly any maintenance drives and runs great. a local dealer offered to buy it from him outrigtht because they claim they have people coming into the dealership almost everyday wanting a ranger. maybe the executives at ford need to get opinions from the loyal customers that buy their product, visavia ford ranger, before they make a unilateral decision to end a car model. After all without the customer they dont have a business. I am in the process of looking for a used ranger for my 16 year old daughter. she wants one! Ford your public is crying out! BRING BACK THE RANGER!

    March 24, 2013
  10. Thom #

    I have owned my ranger for 17 years and I still love it as I did day one. It has been my seat at resturants and movie theatres. It has taken me on vacation and so many times to work I have lost count. It is perfect for me I can park it anywere and I get 30 miles to a gallon of gas which is damn impressive for a old truck. I would buy another one in a heart beat. And before I would by a big truck which is hard to park and takes up to much room in my garage. I will be buying another used Ranger or continue fixing mine. Oh yea 450,000 miles on mine and never been overhauled.

    March 25, 2013
  11. Steven #

    I currently own a 2010 Ford Ranger XLT 4×4. Since I was 6 I wanted one. Although my cousin has a Colorado, my Ranger has a bigger engine/more horsepower for his extra row leg room. I was saddened when the ranger left, the dealership told me they were considering bringing the ranger back but nothing yet. I have offers to buy my ranger all the time. Fact of the matter is, my truck is irreplaceable. I will drive my ranger until the wheels fall off and the engine explodes. Hopefully not anytime soon. I would never buy a foreign truck. Ford all the way. Sadly though their price point comparison is simply false. Looking at what I have on my truck vs F150s, I would pay 15 to 20K MORE for a comparable F150. To say they are comparable in price is complete BS. I have a 4.0 liter V6 and they sell a 3.5 liter (less horsepower with eco boost) for 12 K more than what I paid for my ranger. Its not an apples to apples comparison but its the comparison Ford execs would have us make. I have a friend in Australia who wants my truck, I may ask him to buy me a Global Ranger there and we ship and swap. I would love one of the new Rangers. Then again a Raptor would be great too, except the price point is way too high with really bad fuel economy unless you drive off road to work every day. BRING BACK THE RANGER!

    April 2, 2013
  12. Ed Ar #

    I have owned 2 Rangers, a 2000 which I leased and my current 04. I loved them both as if they were my kids!! They take me everywhere and all they want in return is basic maintenance and good high octane gas!!

    As my current Ranger, the 04, is getting up there in miles, I called the local Ford dealership to see if there was any hope they might bring it back. “Nope, Ford wants to move everyone up to the F-150. Besides, why would you want a small truck when you can have the F-150 for a few thousand more?”” said the idiot/moron fleet manager at the dealership. After a period of long silence, I politely told him that not everyone has buckets of money to spend on gas (my 00 got 25 mpg and my 04 gets around 22-23). I then told him I’d call the Toyota or Chevy dealerships across the street and hung up.

    I think the suits in Dearborn will get the message. Their asinine plan to move Ranger owners up into the behemoth F-150 has badly backfired.

    April 7, 2013
  13. chad #

    I’ve owned a ranger since 1998 that now has 276,000 miles on it with little more than normal routine maintenance. I love this truck and would buy a new one tomorrow if I could. With the transmission finally failing I am faced with the choice between fixing a very well used and beat up 15 year old truck (I am a field biologist so it is my work vehicle and looks like it) that isn’t worth a $2000 transmission rebuild or buying a new one. The used market on rangers has gotten really tight with trucks selling for more than they should be worth. I am still exploring used rangers but will likely end up with a new tacoma in the coming weeks. One thing is for certain, I am NOT looking at f-150s!! I do not want and will not buy a full size pick-up.

    Ford has gravely misjudged the popularity of the ranger and the desire by many many working people to own and drive smaller pick-ups. For me it is about two things: 1)maneuverability and light weight are assets on the unimproved dirt roads and jeep trails I travel while working. 2) You can reach into the bed of the truck easily and comfortably while standing next to it. This is a huge deal for people that work out of their trucks (electricians, contractors, pool guys, gardeners, pest control etc) and don’t want to climb into the bed every time they need to retrieve tools. This is the reason my father (an electrician) drove compact trucks for 30+ years (rangers since ’85) and flat out refused attempts by ford dealers to upsell him on 150s. He was not about to climb on his hands and knees into a truck 15 times a day to get tools and materials out of it. With him mostly retired I am jealously eyeballing his 2006 ranger which I know he will never let go of.

    Ford you have badly misjudged the need for compact pick-ups

    On to looking at new tacomas for me I guess. I would have stuck with ford if they had stuck with me.

    April 11, 2013
  14. j.p. #

    I have an 04 Fx4 Ranger bought it new and love it. I live in Vermont and it is great in the snow never been stuck. I also refuse to buy automatic as it just makes it boring to drive, and thats all that seems to be offered today. I would love if they would sell and manufacture the new ranger here in the states (manual),

    April 14, 2013
    • Tim Esterdahl #

      J.P.,

      Manual transmissions are going to get increasingly harder to find. Frankly, customer demand is for automatics.

      -Tim

      April 15, 2013
      • chad #

        I sadly just replaced my 1998 300K ranger. In new trucks the only comparable options are tacomas and frontiers (both a bit larger than rangers). After looking at used rangers and the smaller pre-2005 tacomas for a few months the financing on new trucks just made better sense. I also hate driving automatics (my work 4×4 is a full size GM with auto trans and I hate that giant pig of a truck) and had a hell of time getting what I wanted with a manual. It’s still easy to get 2wd, 4cyl with manual but once you step up to a v6 the manuals get pretty scarce. I had to have my new truck shipped from 700 miles away to get a manual, v6, 4×4 extended cab (the short bed crew cabs are not practical for me but seem to represent the lion’s share of builds). I’m guessing the manual transmission will disappear completely soon, which is too bad. Some of us just don’t like things to change I guess.

        July 19, 2013
  15. Mike #

    I have been driving my 1999 Ranger ex’cab 4×4 since 2002. I really like the truck. My brother had a ’87, ’97 and driving a ’04 now. We don’t want F series trucks. Ford needs to give us what they give the Europians and Australians. I spent over 2 weeks in Italy in 2010. Most everything is diesel. Funny you can walk down the street with all the cars going by and never smell diesel. No smoke…nothing. They get 40 to 60 mpg. Why can’t we have the same? Who is lining their pockets?

    May 6, 2013
  16. BMP #

    The new ford ranger is only marginally smaller than the F150. It doesn’t make sense for Ford to sell 2 pick up trucks that are almost identical in size.

    May 30, 2013
  17. kyle #

    I have a 2003 ford ranger edge with the 4.0 v6 n I love it it was my first truck I ever it is mint but don’t drive it much since I bought my 05 powerwagon I say bring back the ranger with the 3.0 diesel with the manual trans ill buy one

    July 4, 2013
    • Tim Esterdahl #

      Kyle,

      That would be a cool Ranger! It doesn’t seem likely, but there is always hope!

      -Tim

      July 6, 2013
  18. Ed Miller #

    I had 3 Rangers, the last a 2009 SC, It fit in my garage just right, a F-150 is to big, even the regular cab is too long. Could not understand why it was disc. It out sold GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado combined, and they still are being produced.

    August 15, 2013
    • Ranger Phil #

      Hi Ed. GM discontinued the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado this year. So they’re now gone from the market too. The only small truck choices left to buy in America are the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

      October 5, 2013
  19. Bryan #

    I would be in the market for a 35-40K SVT ranger. doesnt need alot of thrills just a gt500 engine, Raptor suppension, and a 5 point harnest.

    November 21, 2013
  20. RagsAndOldIron #

    What a great conversation. As for me, here I am finally at a point in my life when I can afford to indulge myself a little: buy 4×4 if only to get up my 300 foot hill, buy new – luckily as used is so overpriced these days, insist on a manual – beggers can’t be choosy when sifting the used market, and even consider style, color, dare I say fun – almost like the customers in the ads. But the bean counters have to go and stop the music.

    Not that my Rangers have been perfect. My ’99 needs frame rust repair before I can drive it again. They’ve all lost dashboard lights (repair involves resetting the anti-theft system, imagine paying a dealer to replace a lightbulb) and had windshield wipers that like to start for no reason. I’ve broken a leaf spring, replaced bed mounts, many a wheel bearing and recently had a head gasket done. But they sure can carry weight. I was loading sheetrock with a friend into our two side by side trucks. His Tacoma was resting on its rear axle, the suspension maxed out before it’s rated weight, so we had to shift part of its load to my truck. My Ranger held twice as much as Mr. Toyota’s truck.

    You know what though, a lot of the small trucks being discontinued is our fault. All the trucks have gotten to be huge testosterone soaked behemoths – because customers buy them that way. Someday that too shall pass and we’ll have practical machines again, not duelies for hauling groceries. The only question is who will make them.

    Because in the meantime the small Jap trucks can be had for about half the money. And are they reliable. Many are assembled in America – don’t try to tell me any vehicle is made in America, or even by an American owned company, they’re all multinationals in parts and ownership. Still, I would really like to buy that Ford capability again, but like the rest of the chorus I will not go bigger. Not when the economics demands smaller if anything. Get with the program Detroit. If the Global Ranger has grown so big it isn’t “different” anymore, then turn down its bloat meter at the next design cycle. Fuel costs a whole lot more in Europe, they’ll love it.

    Bigger trucks make sense mostly to the financial types trying to profit by them. Not apparently to anybody in this room who are also customers.

    January 3, 2014
    • chad #

      Yup, It sure does seem like detroit isn’t listening to the consumers that want an affordable small pick-up. I recently saw the unveiling of the redesigned chevy colorado at an auto show. It’s even bigger than the colorado/canyon that nobody bought before, very well appointed with lots of bells and whistles and though the guy wouldn’t tell me what the price would be, I imagine it won’t be significantly less than a silverado or f-150. How in the world will that help GM compete with tacomas and frontiers? Who is going to buy it when they can get a little more truck out of the silverado for what will likely be a very similar price. It has none of the advantages of a true compact truck. It’s the same problem Dakota had and the companies don’t seem to recognize it. Their “small” trucks are not small enough!

      Ford may fall for the same trap if they bring the global ranger over. Seems like a perfectly good truck but it will be too close to the 150 in size, options and price, though that diesel engine sure is tantalizing. Some have alluded to a redesigned ranger that will be a lighter, more car-like unibody. People may buy it but it won’t be the work-horse that the ranger was. Probably what really killed the ranger was ford’s decision to move the explorer/escape over to unibody construction. Without those higher profit margin vehicles being built on the ranger frame it became less profitable to keep that platform around.

      One thing is for sure. Even with the japanese trucks still on the market. The days of the cheap, simple, pick-up as a good affordable first car seem to be over. I bought my first ranger brand new as an 18 year old kid, and lots of other kids did the same with rangers, s-10, and the old nissans, toyotas, and those little dodge/mitsubshi things. These were true small, simple trucks with few creature comforts and people bought them. I can’t imagine kids affording even the most stripped down tacoma now. Compact pick-ups used to be among the most affordable vehicles. Not anymore.

      January 4, 2014
  21. John S. #

    I have always owned a Ford pick-up. I now have a 2003 Ranger. When the times comes, I will look at other brands. Nissian has some nice trucks the size I like. I don’t need a full size truck for what I use one for. If Ford wants to lose customers because of some bad ideas, thats what they get (Fewer customers).

    January 5, 2014
  22. James C. #

    I own a 95 Ford Ranger with almost 400,00 miles and it still runs great. The four cylinder is a tough little motor. Ford needs to bring the Ranger back and build them in the USA. Until then, I’ll keep on trucking in my Ranger affectionately named “Stinky”

    March 11, 2014
  23. George B #

    I am in need of a small four door pick up. NOT a large one! I believe Ford underestimated the impact dropping the US Ranger would have on the consumer. It is time to bring it back and keep customers. In the event that Ford fails to do so… I’ll HAVE no other choice but to look elsewhere. I had a Frontier when I bought my Fusion, and now it’s time to trade the Fusion for a crew cab Ranger.

    March 25, 2014
  24. mike hagan #

    I don’t care about café standards, mpg, and all the other crap that the f150 is like the ranger. I don’t like thee way a full sized truck fits in my garage, fits in my driveway, fits in traffic, I just don’t like how big burly oversized trucks handle and fit in the day to day driving. I don’t care if f150 gets better mileage. if ford doesn’t bring back the ranger, I will be forced to buy a jap truck. im a three explorer in a row owner, and now a titanium escape owner. bring back the ranger or possibly lose lots of loyal ford buyers like me. thank you

    April 14, 2014
    • j. spa #

      I agree with these comments, if ford doesn’t bring back the ranger this loyal ford owner will be looking at a Toyota in the next two years.

      April 26, 2014
  25. Curt Z #

    Ford is leaving my money on the table. When my 2000 Ranger gives up the ghost I’ll probably have to buy a Japanese truck, cause I don’t want an F-150.

    May 30, 2014

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