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2020 Ford Ranger Sees 123 Percent Sales Increase

Ford Ranger closes gap on Chevy Colorado, while Toyota Tacoma continues segment domination. Ranger’s increase pushes it ahead of Jeep Gladiator.
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Here’s some promising and positive news for Ford Motor Company, during a time when they definitely can use some encouraging news. The Ford Ranger, in the first quarter of 2020, saw a 123 percent increase in sales year over year.

The Ranger sold 20,980 units in the United States in the first quarter of the 2020. Meanwhile, the Ford F-150 saw a 13.1 percent drop in sales in the first quarter, as I reported on earlier this year. The F-150 is a vital part of the Ford Motor Company’s success. But that doesn’t mean the Ranger isn’t important.

The Ranger’s success is a feather in the cap for Ford, especially considering that it outsold the upstart Jeep Gladiator.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD

Looking at the Compact Truck Segment
The compact truck segment was a once-abandoned segment in the automotive industry. During the recession of the early 2000s, Ford abandoned the Ranger platform (2012 was the last model year) and only brought it back last year.

Of course, the Ranger had remained in the international market and Ford brought the T6 Ranger platform over to the U.S. mostly unchanged.

The Toyota Tacoma was the only small truck that stuck it out through the 2000s, and thus was able to get a stranglehold on sales in this segment. The Nissan Frontier was around in that segment too, but had always been a low-selling vehicle. One by one, auto manufacturer re-engaged in this segment when General Motors launched the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon in 2014.

With GM out in the segment ahead of Ford, they managed to grab some market share. For the first quarter of 2020, the Ranger was only 450 units behind the second-place Colorado but far behind the segment-leading Tacoma.

The Ranger outperformed the GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and Jeep Gladiator. The fact it outsold the Gladiator is the most encouraging news for Ford.

The Toyota Tacoma saw a 7.8 percent drop in sales year over year in Quarter One, but still holds a 43 percent market share with 53,636 units sold in the first quarter of 2020. The Colorado saw a 36 percent drop which his likely where the Ranger won market share. The Colorado sold 21,430 units in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the 20,980 units of the Ranger.

The Ranger is hot on the heels of the Colorado as this market heats up.
The Gladiator saw a 12,305 percent increase in sales year over year, which is fuzzy math since the Gladiator only launched late in the first quarter of 2019 and sold just 123ed units in 2019 quarter one. But when compared to the first quarter of 2020, the Gladiator sold 15,259. Lagging more than 5,000 units behind the Ranger surely has to please Ford and was a bit surprising to me.

Jeep Gladiator pickup

Ford Ranger vs. Jeep Gladiator
When Jeep announced a Wrangler-based pickup truck, it was a pretty big deal. It was certainly good for the truck market as more competition means better deals and better options for the consumers.

The Gladiator launched almost at the same time as the Ranger, making this a clear-cut showdown between the two trucks. At auto shows the Gladiator got all the glory and generated all the buzz. The Gladiator even won the coveted Truck of the Year award.

However, in this fiscally disastrous year, the fact the Ranger outsold the Gladiator so far, is significant. But why did this happen if the Gladiator was the talked-about truck with all the glory and sex appeal?

To me, it comes down to what all things come down to – price. The Ranger, with two-wheel drive, starts under $30,000. The four-wheel drive option for the Ranger adds another $4,000 to the bottom line while four-wheel drive is standard for the Gladiator.

However, much like the entire Jeep line, the Gladiator can get incredibly pricey when you add the options and features you want. Plus, in talking with many of my Jeep friends, there’s a significant love/hate with the Gladiator. Many of the tried and true Jeepers don’t find the Gladiator appealing.

Towing capabilities of both trucks is essentially the same, when either truck is properly equipped. However the Ranger has a higher payload in its bed versus the Gladiator.

From a performance standpoint, the Ranger and Gladiator have close to the same output numbers when comparing the Ranger’s Ecoboost four-cylinder engine to the Gladiator’s 3.6-liter V6 engine. However, Jeep has the Ecodiesel Gladiator which cranks out an impressive 442 lb.-ft. of torque. Plus the Gladiator has a manual-transmission option, while the Ranger only has a 10-speed automatic transmission which has had several issues.

When it comes to Ranger versus Gladiator, it really comes down to preference. And clearly, at least early in this model year, the consumer prefers the Ranger over the Gladiator.

While all eyes watch as Ford and other auto manufacturers restart production and help to improve some of the inventory issues at the car dealers for the Ford F-150 and other full-size trucks, the small truck segment seems to be heating up as well. The battle for second place is on.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


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Comments

At least to me, the Gladiator is too niche, and really appeals for the more serious off roaders. At the price they are charging- very high, and with its unexceptional V-6, I am surprised that it had the sales that it did. I really wanted a more up to date Comanche, at a more competitive price, which would have greater appeal. After the few Jeep faithful clamored for the initial Gladiators, the sales dropped. I kind of like the Ranger, and it starts affordably, although the platform shows its age (kind of out of date) in the steering and handling dept. In some ways, the Ranger makes a good argument for the F-150, which is superior in most ways for only "A little more." The Tacoma sells based on reliability. For the price, it is not all that exciting in the end, and needs a better tranny. Really, I would just want a smaller truck than any of these midsize offerings (that approach the size of the last gen full size products). I look forward to Ford's compact truck coming soon.
From what I heard from many in the Jeep community, you're right. Way too niche. The Ranger is far less niche from what I can glean.
I feel bad for those who purchased the Ranger. It will be a pile of junk soon. I am a former Ranger owner and I purchased based upon a lower price and "buy American". What a mistake!! I spent more on repairs that easily made up for the cost differential between the Toyota product. The Ranger lasted me 3 1/2 years. Will never trust a Ford product regardless. My 96 Tacoma is still on the road and my 2010 is still going strong.