Ford’s New Ranger Could Learn A Bit from Mercedes’s New X-Class
Pickup trucks that aren’t available in the United States don’t interest me as much as ones that are. Yes, people read this article globally, but when it comes to pickup trucks the United States is the largest market in the world, but things like the Chicken Tax prevent us from getting some of the cool stuff the rest of the world gets. Mercedes-Benz recently announced their X-Class “concept” pickup truck, and there’s a few things I think Ford could use from this not-for-North-America truck in the new Ranger.
The idea behind the X-Class is to have a premium midsize pickup truck offering. When it comes to premium pickups, Ford knows a thing or two about them. While the Lincoln Mk LT wasn’t a sales sensation, these days it’s impossible to keep the high-dollar premium trucks on the lot. Ford originally just had a King Ranch as their top tier, but now you can get a Platinum and Limited model that extends what you can get on a pickup.
With the new Super Duty, that technology is extended to make the truck more useful. The adaptive cruise control is designed to work while hauling a max load trailer. The blind spot monitoring can be configured to cover the blind spot area of a trailer. It’s all there, and it’s all designed to make operating the truck easier.
The new Ranger will surely have a XL and XLT base and volume-seller versions. That’s a given. But will there be higher trim versions, such as a Lariat or King Ranch? There better be. While the price of a midsize Ranger, with all the goodies, could easily hit $45,000 or more, people are willing to spend that on a new truck.
How do I know this? Well there’s the sales data that backs me up, but then there’s also the X-Class. Mercedes-Benz wouldn’t put the time and effort into building a pickup truck if it wouldn’t be cost-effective and profitable for the brand.
When it comes to trims, the X-Class shown has both an urban-lifestyle version that is sleek and stylish. It’s the type of truck a family might buy and use as their daily driver. It’s also the version of the truck probably driven by the contractor or the boss when he heads out to a job site.
Then there’s an off-road focused version. While just a concept, it does look the business and would something akin to the Colorado Trail Boss or the TRD Off-Road version of the Tacoma.
Having a truck designed for work is good, but Ford should also look at appealing to the lifestyle people who buy a truck because they want one, even if they aren’t always doing truck stuff with it. Also, there really needs to be an off-road, Raptor-fied version of the new Ranger. There is going to be a Jeep pickup truck so it would make sense for the Ranger to compete directly with that.
Truck sales may be peaking, but people are still spending tons of money on new rigs. Since the X-Class isn’t coming here, there’s still a hole in the market for a premium midsize pickup truck experience. That’s an experience that Ford could easily provide.
Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>