Totally Awesome 1983 Ranger vs. the Competition: Throwback Thursday

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Just like the upcoming 2019 version, the original Ford Ranger had to battle segment-leading imports.

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” video comes to us from the iOutatime YouTube channel and it features one of the first commercials for the Ford Ranger back in the early 1980s. While many aspects of the entire midsized pickup segment have changed in the past 35 years, the 2019 Ranger will have the same task as the 1983 version – compete with the Japanese imports that dominate the segment.

1983 Ford Ranger

The Midsized Truck Segment

When the Ford Ranger was introduced for the 1983 model year, it entered a segment dominated by Toyota and Nissan. The Japanese automakers popularized these smaller-than-half-ton trucks, so while the Motor Company previously offered the compact Courier, this was Ford’s first real attempt to make a splash in the small truck segment.

When the 2019 Ford Ranger reaches dealerships this year, it will enter a segment dominated by the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have also gained popularity in the past few years, but there is no question that the American midsized truck segment is led by the Japanese manufacturers.

The Original Marketing Campaign

In the commercial above, the Ford Ranger is promised to turn the import world upside down. That gives you an idea of how much of a stranglehold Toyota and Nissan had on the segment back in the early 80s and the market share hasn’t changed a whole lot today.

Back in 1983, the small Ford pickup beat the Japanese trucks in fuel economy, but more importantly to some buyers, it also offered a third seat in the regular cab models. The small Ford truck also had the exclusive independent i-beam suspension, a double-walled cargo box and the two-year protection program – all of which gave the Ranger an advantage over the competition.

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