Posted: 05/16/11 10:20 AM
Who killed the compact pickup truck?
Now, almost 30 years later, Ford announced it would cease production of the current Ranger. Ford has a four-door, diesel-equipped Ranger built in Australia that will service 180 markets around the world, but we won't be seeing it here. Ford says the export-market Ranger is about 90 percent the size of an F-150, and that most people bought the Ranger because it was one of the least expensive vehicles in Ford's line — not because it was a pickup. By offering the Fiesta and the Transit Connect, Ford surmises it has covered the low end, making the Ranger redundant. But there's a $7,900 price difference between the Fiesta and the Transit Connect, and nobody's going to be shopping those vehicles against each other.
When the "new" Ranger debuted in 1993, George Bush was president. The first one. Despite the fact that Ford didn't perform a single major revision to the Ranger since the 1994 model year, Ford still managed to sell 75,000 trucks a year. Yet the automaker contends that the American compact pickup market has been declining for the past 15 years, dropping from eight percent of the industry in 1994 to around two percent today.