There’ll Never Be a $15,000 True Compact Pickup Truck

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ford ranger 600

People are getting excited about the rumors that the Ford Ranger will make a return in the coming years. Long has Ford left the compact pickup sales to Toyota, General Motors, and Nissan that they’ve had time to absorb the entire market. Many people are hoping that the new Ranger will take it’s cues from the previous generation. They want it to be small, compact, and inexpensive. I’m here to tell you it’ll be none of those things.

The truly small compact pickup truck is dead in the United States, and not just because Ford doesn’t want to build it. Here are just some of the reasons why a classic Ranger won’t work.


Crash Test Requirements

New vehicles have to pass a litany of crash safety tests. Vehicles must meet strict safety requirements for both the passengers inside the vehicle as well as pedestrians that you might run over. These crash safety requirements are part of the reason why new vehicles grow in size with each passing year.

F-150 Window Sticker Expensive

Pricing Will Never Be Cheap

Part of what inspired this article was an opinion piece that appeared on BestRide. The author claims that when an automaker can build a $15,000 pickup truck, it’ll sell like hotcakes. The problem is, there’ll never be a $15,000 pickup truck.

There’s a reason why Ford builds their cheapest vehicles (the Fiesta, and soon to be the Focus and C-Max) outside of the country. They simply aren’t profitable being built by U.S. labor. They have to do that to sell a $15,000 car.

So, to build a $15,000 truck, assuming all things are equal, they’d have to build that truck outside the country. Then guess what happens? There’s a 25% Chicken Tax that Ford would have to pay on the imported truck to sell. Ford can’t, and won’t, absorb that cost raising the price of the truck significantly.

Now, we’re near the starting price of the Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma (and presumably the starting price of the Ranger). Who wants a super compact truck then when they can get something bigger for virtually the same price?

06 ranger mudding

NVH Requirements

Modern day vehicles, including the entry-level econoboxes, are better than they ever have been. When it comes to Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) customers demand as much as they can get.

With a car like the Mazda Miata, the 4th-generation actually got smaller and lighter. But to maintain NVH and meet crash test requirements, the car got more expensive. There’s always a tradeoff. It’s actually not that easy to simply remove weight and cost from a vehicle.

While I know there are a lot of Ranger fans on here, compared to how a new mid-size truck drives, the old Ranger really wasn’t that great. In some cases, it was kinda terrible. The Chevrolet Colorado won Motor Trend‘s Truck of the Year┬áin part because it was actually a really good basic pickup truck. It’s just not a $15,000 basic pickup truck.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts over in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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