2019 Ford Ranger Is the Key to Reclaiming Truck Sales Crown
Ford owns both the best-selling vehicle and truck/SUV crown. But it finishes second in one important category.
It’s not exactly news that the Ford F-150 is the dominant, long-running, best-selling vehicle in America. It’s also not terribly surprising that Ford sells more trucks and SUVs than any other automaker. But did you know that Ford isn’t the champ when it comes to pure, overall truck sales? That crown actually belongs to GM at the moment, and for one very simple reason. The Blue Oval abandoned the compact and mid-size truck market when it effectively killed off the Ford Ranger.
Ford has always been a company that isn’t afraid to take risks to stay ahead of the competition. Look no further than their recent decision to quit building cars as proof of that. But even we must admit that abandoning the smaller truck market and assuming that people would simply buy an F-150 instead proved out to be a major error in judgement. Thankfully, it wasn’t a fatal mistake by any means.
Ford is working to rectify that mistake by bringing the Ranger back for 2019. This time around, it’s not much smaller than the F-150, yet small enough to compete directly with the established Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. Unfortunately, the mid-size truck market is red hot, and Ford’s obviously a little late to the party. Both the Tacoma and Colorado are selling like hotcakes, which means the Ranger has to hit the ground running.
Ford needs to sell roughly 70,000 Rangers in the second half of 2018 to reclaim the pickup truck crown, even if GM continues on its current path of growth.
But even though this might seem like a dire situation on the surface, Ford faces little pressure to deem the Ranger a success. In the first half of 2018, GM sold a total of 478,671 trucks. Ford, on the other hand, moved a total of 451,138. Both of these numbers represent a large increase over last year as customers flock to pickups. But on the surface, GM’s rate of growth is superior to Ford’s, expanding at a rate of 10.7% as opposed to 4.7%.
Seems bleak, right? But if you take a closer look at the numbers, the playing field levels out considerably. GM sold a grand total of 69,875 Colorado pickups in the first half, an increase of 38.9% over last year. The Colorado’s brother, the GMC Sierra, moved 16,848 units and enjoyed a smaller jump of 13.2%. The Silverado (10.7%) and Sierra (1.7%), on the other hand, weren’t quite as hot.
So, if you do the math, Ford only needs to sell roughly 70,000 Rangers in the second half of 2018 to reclaim the pickup truck crown, even if GM continues on its current path of growth. That’s assuming that the Ranger doesn’t poach sales from the F-150, but GM’s past history indicates that it won’t. And even if Ford fails to hit that mark this year due to supply/production or other issues, it should easily surpass it in 2019.
We must also keep in mind that the new Ford Ranger isn’t exactly some brand new product. It’s a mild refresh of a truck that’s been wildly successful in other parts of the world for years now. And sure, it might not be the compact pickup we all knew and loved in the ’80s and ’90s, but it is exactly what Ford needs to reassert itself as the rightful owner of the truck sales crown.