Ford Bronco and Ranger Production Can’t Come to Michigan Assembly Soon Enough
Unless you’ve been literally living under a rock the past couple of years, you’ve heard the stories about how Ford is shifting the production of the C-Max and Focus from the Michigan Assembly plant to make way for the return of the U.S.-built Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco. With declining sales of cars in this country, the new truck production can’t come soon enough.
Ford is halting production for two weeks at Michigan Assembly due to low demand of the C-Max and Focus. Those two weeks off for workers should help Ford work through their extra inventory of those vehicles so the company doesn’t end up with a stockpile of cars they can’t sell. This is fairly common practice, and Ford’s Flat Rock Mustang plant is undergoing a small break as well to help manage inventory.
Car sales are on the decline in the United States, thanks to low gas prices and easier access to credit. Instead of going out and buying new cars, the public is going out and purchasing crossovers and SUVs. While overall vehicle sales might be peaking in the U.S., there is still strong demand for trucks and utilities while the cars are left unloved.
While it will take time to retool Michigan Assembly for the Bronco and the Ranger, which don’t think the reveal of those vehicles are coming anytime particularly soon, the transition can’t come soon enough. Slow sales on lower-margin cars is already not a good thing for Ford, but having excess inventory and having to shutter a plant for a couple of weeks also isn’t ideal. If the Bronco and Ranger were already in production, it’s possible that a shutdown like this wouldn’t need to take place.
Keep in mind shutdowns are normal occurrences in automotive and not an indicator of poor company health. But we can’t help but wonder how well a Bronco and a Ranger would be selling if they were already on sale.
Regarding the Ranger, it’s probably unlikely that Ford will unseat the mid-size truck king — the Toyota Tacoma — but we wouldn’t be surprised if the new Ranger gives the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins a run for their money. The Ranger could be a compelling alternative that mixes the best of the off-road Tacoma with the towing and capability of the Colorado. It’d be even more compelling if they offer the new Ranger with a diesel engine option.
When the new vehicles from Ford do come out, they’ll be facing a possibly-refreshed Tacoma and likely an updated Colorado and Canyon. The new Bronco should also come on the heels of an all-new Jeep Wrangler. It’s crucial for Ford to get those product launches right since they’ll be re-entering a market with established players. But Ford has long proven their dominance in pickup trucks and SUVs, and it’s likely they’ll be dominant with the new vehicles as well.
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