Ford Didn’t Shoot Themselves in the Foot with the Ranger, But They Have to Get it Right
In the past couple of years, after it seemed that midsize trucks went the way of the Dodo, the trucks have seen a huge resurgence. Part of that was due to rising fuel costs, while other reasons include the growing size of full-size pickups. Did Ford shoot themselves in the foot by killing the Ranger, or did they do the right thing?
Over at CarBuzz they make the claim that Ford killed their chance with the Ranger by killing it and not updating it. They claim that Ford’s philosophy that Ranger buyers would go into the F-150 instead of switching brands was a bad plan. They also claim that the revised Honda Ridgeline is a better truck option for many.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a small trip back in time to when the Ranger was cancelled. The general consensus at the time was that people would replace their Rangers with new F-150s that started near the price point of a Ranger. These buyers would be thankful to have a full-size truck and the extra capability it offered. For those who needed more utility, the Transit Connect was designed to meet their needs and include covered storage.
If there was a failing by Ford, it’s realizing that a midsize truck buyer is a midsize truck buyer, and doesn’t view a full-size truck, regardless of price, as a viable option. Want proof? Look at the Chevrolet Colorado. When you tack on dealer incentives for a full-size Silverado, pricing drops significantly. In many cases, the midsize Colorado is as near-as-makes-no-difference the same price as the Silverado. Yet, the Colorado still sells strongly.
From my own personal experience, I like driving midsize trucks better than I like driving full-size trucks. That’s why I’m looking forward to the new Ranger.
With nearly all the midsize trucks receiving a refresh recently, Ford is in a unique situation of being last to market with the Ranger. This is advantageous to Ford because they can look at everything the others do well, and one-up them. Right now, no midsize truck is perfect, so there’s room to really make an impression.
But the disadvantage of being last to market is there is no room for error. Ford has to get the new Ranger right, and they have to get it right right out of the gate for it to work. But one thing that the CarBuzz feature fails to recognize is the loyalty of truck buyers. If I came into this site and told you all to buy a Toyota Tacoma, you’d laugh me out of the room. You want a Ford and you’ll buy a Ford.
The truck market is still growing, and I’m willing to bet there is still an unserved midsize truck buyer that wants all the benefits of the smaller truck with a Blue Oval on the hood. Are you one of them?
Let us know what you think over in our forums!