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Ford Ranger production to end on December 22, 2011

Ford Ranger enthusiasts and workers at the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant got some bad news via a UAW letter as it has been announced that production of the Ford Ranger will come to an end on December 22, 2011 – ending the 28 year run of the popular compact pickup.

This should not come as a huge surprise as Ford has stated for some time that 2011 would be the final year for the North American Ford Ranger pickup but in the United Auto Workers 879’s June-August newsletter, the official final day of production was announced. The Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is currently the oldest plant in operation, having first opened in 1924, but with the end of the Ford Ranger production the Twin Cities facility is facing its demise.

Ford has introduced a new Ranger pickup but there are no plans to bring it to the US market. Instead of offering the compact Ranger in the US, Ford hopes that buyers will instead look at the entry level F150 as it offers class-leading fuel economy and far more capabilities than the Ranger. According to a report by Autoblog in 2010, many Ranger owners do not buy these models because they are trucks but instead, because they are among the least expensive and most fuel efficient vehicles on the market.

In killing off the Ranger, Ford hopes to “shake the fence” and see which way these previous small-truck buyers fall. It seems that Ford believes that those who want a low priced, efficient pickup will turn to the Ford F150 and those who simply want a low priced, fuel efficient vehicle (truck or not) will look to their new, super efficient models like the Fiesta and the new 2012 Ford Focus.

The other side of the equation would be those consumers who do buy models like the Ford Ranger because it offers some truck abilities like light towing and hauling while also getting great fuel mileage and not being a “big truck”. Unfortunately, those buyers will be sent out into the market to find a replacement vehicle if they don’t want to step up to the larger F-Series, although the sluggish sales of small trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Dodge Dakota are bringing a demise to both of those models as well – so it looks like there won’t be that many consumers put out by the termination of the Ranger. However, for those select few consumers who want a compact pickup, they may turn to the likes of the Nissan Frontier or the Toyota Tacoma if the GM, Ford or Chrysler's Ram brand don't come up with a modern alternative to these smaller Japanese pickups.

Source: Autoblog

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The Ford Mustang plant could be in trouble

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One tough little truck. Sorry to see it go. I have driven the Mazda version since 2000 when I bought it new. 163000 miles later and only normal wear and tear replacement. This little two wheel drive has been to Seattle. Glacier national park, Taos New mexico, and points in between. Moved the vast majority of stuff from a three bedroom house in it. Still looks and runs good after seeing eleven Minnesota winters. The manual tranny and vulcan v6 are an excellent combo.
have a 98 ranger and just got an 04 good for a few years.i think ford is making a mistake .i dont like f-150s there worse on fuel milage.down the road some day when both of my rangers are gone if i cant get another i will look elswere.
I went in to my Ford dealers multiple times over the past three years wanting to buy a Ranger with an extended cab, a 4 cyl and a 5 speed. But each time they told me that there were none to be had anywhere in Illinois. So, I never bought one. And am now thinking about a Tacoma.
Perhaps the Ranger (and Colorado and Dakota) have seen sluggish sales because of lack of development (or in the Dakota's case, bad redesign) over the past decade. The Wildtrak (or variant) would be a capable and stylish replacement, and I think would lure many Tacoma/Frontier buyers.
Going to buy my 4th one this fall while I can. Started in 1983, 1992, and 2003. All have been good and reliable but my 2003 has been the best. I like the truck- style frame as I live on a dirt road. If they had developed it more in the mileage area (like putting in eco-boost or diesel) they would continue to be a good option for both consumers and those in need of a smaller work vehicle.
WOW, I'm bummed. I'm on Ranger/Courier/Mazda B-2000 #8. I was looking forward to #9 until Ford made it official that there will be more. The next day I went to the local Toyota dealer and bought a new Tacoma Prerunner SRS. Hate it, wish I had a new Ranger instead.