The new Ford Ranger has gone on sale around the world but, of course, it will never arrive in U.S. dealerships. A Ford representative was recently quoted in an Automotive.com interview saying that there is, in fact, room in the U.S. for a true, compact truck segment, even if the overseas Ranger is never imported here.
Scott suggested that a successful U.S.-market Ford truck below the market-leading F-150 would have to be truly compact. As for size, think of the original Ford Ranger and Nissan “Hardbody” truck from the 1980s. The price and fuel economy would have to be more different than is currently the case for compacts like the Toyota Tacoma and full-size trucks.
While a manual-transmission four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma is EPA-rated at 21/25 mpg city/highway, the automatic-transmission four-cylinder Tacoma is 19/24 mpg. For comparison, the 2013 Ford F-150 with a 3.7-liter V-6 (and six-speed automatic) gets 17/23 mpg while the 2013 Ram 1500 goes as high as 17/25 mpg before considering the HFE model. The Tacoma is available under $20,000 in the base-trim regular-cab model with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic while the Nissan Frontier can be had under the same price ceiling with a five-speed manual transmission.
So will Ford ever prepare a compact truck like the new Ranger for the U.S.? Possibly, but that truck is too close in size to the F-150, and its volume engines are diesels. Consider local crash regulations, and Scott claims Ford would have to engineer a “whole new vehicle.” Ford simply doesn’t have enough engineers to start such a project at the moment, Scott said to Automotive.com, but in a few years, who knows. Where we especially agree is that there’s potential for a small, cheap, and efficient truck in the U.S. market.