This Might Be Why Ford Isn’t Bringing the Ranger Back to the U.S.

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It’s ironic that the Bronco and Ranger are simultaneously two of Ford’s most beloved trucks and a pair of vehicles it hasn’t sold in the United States in several years. Body-on-frame trucks still sell well (really well), but two-door, V8-powered, truck-based SUVs as a whole haven’t been around in a long time. You can blame it on O.J. or the rise of car-like crossovers and spacious cute utes. As for the Ranger, a Forbes contributor seems to know why the Blue Oval isn’t bringing it back stateside.

It doesn’t help that “unit sales of mid-size trucks have been falling year-on-year since 2011. Even in its best years, the mid-size truck segment has only sold one-third as many units as the full-size truck segment in the last decade and a half,” according to the Trefis Team. However, GM has re-entered the midsize segment to take on the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier with its Colorado and Canyon offerings.

Clearly, one of Ford’s competitors sees dollar signs in the mid-size class, but the Trefis Team claims Ford sees a different kind of them: the big dollar signs attached to making the Ranger acceptable to U.S. buyers. Converting the current Ranger to meet U.S. emissions and crash safety standards probably wouldn’t be cheap. Trefis points to Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom’s reluctance to bring a new Dakota into his brand’s portfolio given his reported belief that mid-size trucks need to be much smaller than, considerably less expensive than, and as – if not more – fuel-efficient as their full-size counterparts.

The outgoing Double Cabin Wildtrak 4×4 Ranger sold in Indonesia is (with its 5-foot box) over 17.5 feet long, whereas an F-150 SuperCrew with a 5.5-foot bed is more than 19.3 feet in length. Those are just two configurations, but perhaps a larger difference in dimensions between the Ranger and the F-150 in general would make purchasing the latter less of a default. Trefis says the Ranger is too large relative to its big brother and, “It is hard to see why consumers will buy a Ranger when the F-150 is available.”

A U.S. Ranger would have the 2015 F-150’s peak fuel economy figures of 19 city/26 highway/22 combined (with the 2.7L EcoBoost and two-wheel drive) with which to compete.

I’m going to turn it over to you Ranger lovers at this point. If Ford were to start fresh and begin developing a U.S. Ranger, what feedback would you give it? Would you want a truck close to the size of your current Ranger? How fuel efficient would it have to be? What price for it would be just right for you to ignore the F-150?

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

via [Forbes]

photos [Wikipedia]

Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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