No More Ranger Rants

Friday, 8 September 2006, 23:10 | Category : Autos, RangerRants
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I got a new sled today. After several months of looking and pondering, I had focused on either the Toyota Matrix or it’s twin Pontiac Vibe. Found what I wanted today, and so – no more Ranger. I may miss having a truck, but I can haul a bunch of stuff in this, including my telescopes. And so – the Vibe:

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In Which The Ranger Rant Once Again Appears

Saturday, 2 September 2006, 13:22 | Category : RangerRants
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I know, this is getting old, and very much in the category of tilting at windmills. But this quote set it off for me this morning:

“It is true based on sales that we see that consumers are shifting toward smaller trucks,” said Kiho Tsuruta, spokesman for Nissan North America. “For us it is the Frontier and the Murano.”

The Frontier gets, with it’s 4-cylinder engine, 25 miles per gallon highway, 22 city. The Ford Ranger 4-cylinder gets 29 mpg highway, 24 city. Ford could tweak the Ranger a little and push that to 30 highway. So is Ford saying anything in the vein of “we see consumers shifting towards smaller trucks, and we’ve got the small truck that gets the best mileage of any truck”? Hardly. What Ford has said is that the only plant making Rangers in the US will close next year. Nothing more about the Ranger’s future. It doesn’t show up on lists of planned updates and replacements through 2010.

So does this really surprise anyone?

Ford Ranger U.S. Sales

August 2006: 7,986
August 2005: 14,129

2006 Year To Date: 65,122
2005 Year To Date: 89,802

That’s down 43.5% for August versus last year, and 27.5% for the year. You don’t orphan a vehicle and then expect people to continue buying it. There was a time when the Ranger was the best small truck on the road. Now it’s a symbol of Ford’s pathological inability to understand their market.

In Which I Once Again Embark On A Ranger Rant

Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:00 | Category : Autos, RangerRants
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It’s been 5 months since my last rant, I feel due for another one. What triggered this one? Well, Mark, for one, although he couldn’t have anticipated it. Just an innocent post on a mailing list. But what really did it was this:

Ford Future Products Update, on autoweek.com.

Ford has already announced that the Ranger is dead after next year. Or at least, they’re shutting down the only plant that makes them, in St. Paul. Maybe they’ll start a Ranger cottage industry in western North Dakota. But I think not. So, no Ranger after 2007, apparently. So let’s look at the Ford Future Products Update to see what’s coming.

2007 – the Edge crossover; a re-engineered, re-styled Expedition. Wow! That gets what, 15 mpg? And a re-designed SportTrac.

2008 – a “reskinned” Focus. “Reskinned”? That sounds brutal. The Five Hundred “freshened”. Didn’t they just introduce that? How much freshening does a brand new model need? The next-generation Escape. I bet the gas mileage goes down. The Freestyle freshened. (sigh). The F250 and F350 redesigned.

2009 – The Fusion, the Crown Vic, the Explorer all get freshened. Changing out the pine scent for French vanilla? And the F150 gets re-engineered.

2010 – a new small sedan of some sort, maybe. A new cross-over of some sort, maybe. The Five Hundred gets French vanilla. The Mustang gets restyled. The way Ford thinks, they’ll probably give us the Mustang II II.

WHERE THE HECK IS THE RANGER??????? Hey Ford, ever think that maybe the reason F150 sales are falling by bazillions of percent is because at $3.00+ a gallon for gas, maybe people don’t want to drive these as much? Imagine if there was a smaller pickup truck, that got 29-30 miles per gallon, and maybe didn’t need to tow 10,000 pounds – OK, so you give up that 2% of the market. What if you said “Hey, here’s a truck that will haul what 98% of you haul, and gets the best gas mileage of any truck on the market”? Oh wait, you had that, and you killed it off. Never mind.

Monday Night Continuum Of The Friday Night Truck Rant

Monday, 20 March 2006, 19:37 | Category : Autos, RangerRants
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In my Friday night Ranger Rant, I said I had emailed Ford with the question:

“When, when, when is Ford going to give us a new Ranger? When
will we get a true crewcab Ranger? I see crewcab Rangers on Ford websites
from other countries, why isn’t it sold in the United States? I’ve owned
2 Rangers, I’d love to own a third, but you’re not making what I need now”

Ford’s response came today, and it, I think, hints at why Ford sales are dropping:

Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding your interest in the new Ford Ranger.

Ford Motor Company appreciates hearing from our customers, especially when customers provide us with valuable ideas and insight. Information of this nature is collected and used in the decision making process by all departments of Ford. We sincerely thank you for taking the time to write to us with your suggestion.

The Sales Department of your local dealership is in the best position to advise you of vehicle pricing or availability. Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships are independently owned and operated and as such, set their own prices for vehicle sales.

To locate a Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership, please visit www.genuineservice.com.

You may also obtain Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricing (MSRP) for the model and option configuration you are seeking through our Brand web sites. Simply select the site for the model you are interested in, and you will be able to configure and price the vehicle of your choice:

www.fordvehicles.com
www.lincolnvehicles.com
www.mercuryvehicles.com

If you would like to request a complimentary sales brochure, please use the following phone numbers:

Ford: 1-800-301-7430
Lincoln: 1-800-688-8898
Mercury: 1-888-566-8888

Sincerely,
Quentin
Customer Relationship Center
Ford Motor Company

I don’t think any human actually read my question. If they did, it’s more evidence that Ford isn’t paying much attention to what the market wants. And referring me to my local dealer? They weren’t aware that Ford had begun putting 4-cylinder engines in the Supercab Ranger again.

Friday Night Truck Rant

Friday, 17 March 2006, 21:04 | Category : Autos, RangerRants
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Guess what this is:

It’s a new Ford Ranger, being introduced to Thailand, and later in the year, Britain. Will we get it in the US? Nope – Ford plans on selling the current Ranger (which debuted in 1993) until 2010 at least. Obviously they’ve not read my Rant The First and my Rant The Second. So I have now asked FoMoCo the question: “When are you going to introduce a new Ranger to the US market?”

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