Revisiting ‘Ford Truck Month’ in the Nineties

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In 1996, the Ford Ranger and Explorer led their segments and special lease prices were higher than today.

This week’s Throwback Thursday video comes to us from The Classic Sports YouTube channel and it features a commercial from the Indiana Ford Dealers group from December 1996. While this commercial isn’t all that different from modern local truck commercials, it is interesting how much the market has changed in the past 20 years.

1997 Ford Ranger XLT

Bigger, Badder, Better

This Ford Truck Month commercial from December 1996 begins by proclaiming that the lineup is “bigger, badder, better”, then the spot focuses on their smaller offerings. The video showcases the Ranger as the best-selling compact truck and the Explorer as the best-selling sport utility vehicle. As we all know, the Ranger hasn’t been in the lineup for six years and the Explorer is no longer the best-selling SUV in America. However, back in late-1996, you could get big deals on each of those hot-selling models.

The commercial finishes up by highlighting the Ford Windstar, a vehicle that many people may not even remember. The stigma against minivans in the US has led Ford to go away from the traditional minivan, instead entering that segment with the more commercial-friendly Transit Connect. That negative view of minivans also led to the growth in popularity of the smaller SUVs and those small models eventually replaced the Explorer as the best-selling SUVs in America.

Lower Costs Today

Another interesting point in this commercial from 1996 is the pricing. The highlighted price is a lease of the 1997 Ford Ranger XLT two-wheel drive model for $129 per month. We don’t have any Ranger pricing to compare right now, but a quick search of local lease deals on the F-150 shows that you can get a half-ton truck for around $100 per month. In some cases, we found F-150 lease deals as low as $86.

Although today’s trucks have gotten to be far more expensive, lease deals get you more truck for less money today.

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Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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