In North America, Ford’s compact Ranger pickup will soldier on with little change in the foreseeable future -- but that’s hardly the case abroad. The Blue Oval is busy working on developing an all-new small truck for virtually every market -- although perhaps not the U.S.
We’ve long seen development mules for the new truck, codenamed T6, running around the Detroit area, but this is one of the few that appears to sport finalized bodywork underneath the thick camouflage. Judging by the shape of the grille insert, we’d actually wager that this is Mazda’s version (the BT-50), although apart from grille, emblems, and trim, the BT and the new Ranger will be virtually identical. In line with Ford’s “One Ford” thinking, the new T6 will be nothing short of a global vehicle. Although engineers in Australia are spearheading development of the program, the truck will be sold in Asia, Europe, and South America. Both left-hand- and right-hand-drive versions are being developed, allowing the T6 to be configured for each market’s requirements. Many of those markets have a preference for small, turbo-diesel engines, but associate editor Eric Tingwall -- who ran into the camo’ed truck last night -- says it certainly didn’t sound like an oil-burner, even when the driver sped off from the parking lot. Our friends at PickupTrucks.com report that Ford is also working on offering a small, turbocharged gas engine -- possibly with an EcoBoost label -- as another powertrain choice. Sadly, none of these options matter to truck buyers in the U.S., as Ford presently has no plans on bringing the T6 to our shores. Engineers in America frequently test vehicles sold outside of our borders, and judging by the right-hook steering configuration, this T6 looks more likely to become forbidden fruit than our future Ford.