2020 Ford Ranger Front End; There May Be Smaller Pickup Due
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Ford May Add Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickup To The Truck Lineup

About 100 of Ford's top dealers saw what could be Ford's entry-level vehicle of the future, a pickup that slots below the Ranger in Ford's lineup. The demo was last month in Tucson.
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This isn’t a new news report. It surfaced a couple of years ago and promptly fell over the edge of the world (not the north side, the south). Ford had discussed a baby Ranger, based on the Focus platform, a couple of years ago.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickup Shown Early

At that time, Ford exhibited the baby Ranger at various auto shows. It did create lots of excitement. The excitement comes from the fact that there is no entry level vehicle anymore in the Ford lineup. Aside from looking for a sub-Ranger, Ford keeps drivers safe with a recall discussed by my colleague Jimmy Dinsmore here.

Ford intends to use the baby Ranger in place of cars like the Focus and Fiesta that brought in many first-time buyers.

Automotive publications and websites have this habit of trying to guess when the next version of a model is coming along. Recently, The Ford Authority thought it had the introduction of the 14th generation of the Ford F-150 down pat only to find out that it didn't. I wrote about the issue here.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickup May Be Entry Level

In the days of car sales – before Ford and General Motors decided to cut out anything relating to cars and car sales – there were entry-level vehicles that brought first-time buyers into the Ford showrooms.

Usually, the vehicle was an entry-level car that encouraged customers to come into a dealership and begin a relationship with the store.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickup To Have Sales Path

As a relationship hopefully developed, Ford car owners either moved up the car pricing stratosphere, into more powerful vehicles and finally into the major metal where cost was no object.

Or, the buyer may have moved fully into the truck track, often settling there. At once, this buyer probably turned around and looked for the $20,000 to $30,000 inventory.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups Once Mazda B-Series Trucks

Smaller, low-end pickups like the early Ford Ranger – borrowed from Mazda B pickup – were available in the earlier in this century as were compact pickups from Nissan and Toyota. Toyota led this market for many years because there was no alternative.

Now with the emergence of the Ford Ranger as healthy competition, Toyota’s top place isn’t very secure.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups Spark Competition

But, what if the buyer needs or wants an entry level vehicle, something priced under the Ranger? The sub-Ranger-sized pickups should be the answer.

It would be a truck that is strong enough to handle the bumps and grinds of everyday work or driving and be ready to take on whatever the owner may want to do over the weekend.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups Answer Many Questions

Ford answered that question recently when it showed 100 of its top dealers – highest-volume stores – a sub-Ranger-sized pickup. The event occurred in Tucson last month, said Automotive News. The new truck was well received.

The mini-pickup carries the codename 758. The automaker has plans to release the small pickup by the end of next year. The publication said it would have a starting price under $20,000.
Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups Carry Aggressive Price

Such aggressive pricing would put it at least $5,000 less expensive than a base Ranger.

Ford’s planning calls for the automaker to use its Hermosillo, Mexico plant to build the mini-Ranger. Indeed, Ford hopes to use the Mexican plant to make at least 100,000 copies of the baby Ranger yearly.

As you might find with a good detective mystery, where would you look for clues to any entry-level vehicles that might provide a backdrop for the pricing and content of entry-level cars?

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups Looked At Possibilities

Remember, entry-level vehicles in Ford were the Focus and the Fiesta, hardly truck-like vehicles. Indeed, just comparing the Fiesta and Focus to a mini-Ranger is nearly impossible.

About the only chance, there might be a comparison for background purposes that would be narrowly limited solely in the amount charged for each vehicle and the content. Other than that, there could be no meaningful comparison.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups May Have

So, what do we know thus far and this far away from their intro next year:

  1. The new pickup would replace the Fiesta and Focus as the automaker’s entry-level vehicles.m
  2. The new entry level pickup would use the new Euro-spec Focus.
  3. There would be two engines available a 1.5-liter gas turbo engine four and a larger 2.0-liter gas turbo-four.
  4. The transmission would be an eight-speed, torque-converter automatic.
  5. The name hasn’t been revealed yet.
  6. There is a rumor circulating that one team favors the Courier.
  7. Another naming solution circulating right now has been put forth by the Brazilian Motor1 team, the revival of the Ranchero nameplate. The Torque News team believes it should be the Brushbuster.

Sub-Ranger-Sized Pickups To Go On Sale in 2021 or 2022
Whatever the name might be, Ford may introduce that the new model South America first with a market launch in North America coming in either late 2021 or early 2022.

Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One was that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories can be found at Torque News Ford coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.


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Comments

Looking forward to a smaller pickup, as the Ranger is way too large. Just hope that Ford makes it affordable, and also gives it adequate power. It basically needs to be able to stand on its own, and not just make an excuse to trade you up to the Ranger or the F-150.
From the pricing discussions I saw on the baby Ranger, it will probably be in -- I am speculating here -- $18,000 to $21,000 range which is super-affordable given the pricing on some of today's full-sized models (I am working on a pricing story now that shows what we all suspect, full-sized pickups like the F-150 are way too expensive for many folks. At some dealerships, for instance, full-sized F-150 King Ranch models list out at $74,000 and change. They are discounted some but you still end up paying in the mid-60s. Yup, I think it's the right time for the baby Ranger. It will likely be based on either the Focus platorm. The engine will likely be the 2.0-liter turbocharged four with an eight-speed automatic. The wheelbase will be in the 100-inch range. Overall, it will probably be about 180-inches long and I am guessing here but it will likely be unitized construction as this is the style of vehicle that will be the platform. I haven't seen the images yet, but when I do I'll share them.
It's about time! I've been hanging on to my 1987 S10 4x4 because there is no similarly-sized alternative. I don't need a cheap truck, just one that is sized to my needs. I hope this inspires other manufacturers to follow suit. There are many small pickups around my town, all getting older and older, but people keep hanging on to them. Why this segment was abandoned I do not know.
When you bought your S10 there was a whole market segment of, for want of a better word, subcompact pickups. There was the S10, the Ford/Mazda B2000/Ranger, Toyota, the Nissan Frontier, and the like. They disappeared as the assembly line room needed to make them was taken over by a new generation of midsized luxury mobiles. One by one the subcompact truck segment quickly disappeared. Yes, there were some hangers on like the Toyota Tacoma and the Ford Ranger but the Ranger started to grow. I think either the Focus or the Fiesta will be a good platform for this pickup. I do believe that if Ford is successful in re-establishing this market segment. It should be a rather lucrative one for Ford.
I miss mini pickups. I am certain that there would be a strong demand for such a vehicle, but I do not see it happening in the U.S. As you mentioned, the plan made years ago would be to offer low cost, entry level models to draw in the first time buyer, and then when they become a loyal customer then when they are earning more money and want to move up, they will be more likely to get their next upmarket vehicle from the same dealer. But car buying has vastly changed with the internet, and people will hunt quickly online and will usually choose the better deal regardless of the dealership, brand, or past purchases. Many automakers are focusing on the profits on each vehicle, especially from large trucks (averaging $48K today) and SUVs, and several automakers have decided to drop all of their economy cars from their model line up, and to not build smaller trucks. Ford's smallest vehicle now is the $20K Ecosport crossover, which looks like a chubby Festiva. But moving up to the Escape for $5K more looks like it would get you a much nicer vehicle. The Base Ranger also starts at almost the same $24.4K price. Ford could easily design an Ecosport based pickup, and they might already be planning this small truck for overseas markets, but I do not see it coming to the U.S.