One Ford, Two Big Trucks
The reason Ford will not sell its new Ranger pickup truck in North America has become ever more clear. The new Ranger will be about 90 percent the size of the F-150, product development chief Derrick Kuzak tells Truck Trend. Turns out that the rest of the world also wants bigger pickups, with cargo and towing capacities increasing to become closer to the mega-numbers posted by the F-150 and its rivals.
The new global Ford Ranger is doing a striptease this week, nearing its official reveal October 15 at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
To appease North American buyers, the Ford F-150 gets a new, more fuel-efficient powertrain lineup for the 2011 model year. The F-150's new EcoBoost is the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, which is rated 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet in the Taurus SHO. The Raptor's 6.2-liter V-8, rated 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet in the SVT truck, will be offered across the board in '11 F-150s. Ford's new 24-valve, 5.0-liter V-8, which is rated 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet in the Mustang GT, and the 3.7-liter V-6, rated 305 horsepower/280 pound-feet in the Mustang, will round out the F-150's all-new engine lineup. A six-speed automatic will be the only transmission offered in the '11 truck.
F-150's extensive array of bodystyles, bed lengths and trim packages are unchanged for 2011. Kuzak promises best-in-class power, fuel efficiency and towing/cargo capacities with the new powertrains.
The familiar midsize Ranger sold in North America is scheduled to cease production by the end of the '11 model year, though it could be extended slightly if demand dictates.
"It's a segment that's been decreasing over time," Kuzak says, taking no more than 2 percent market share. The full-size pickup market accounts for about 11 percent of the market, which is off from as much as 14 percent in the heyday of the '00s.
For North America, Ford will aim the F-150 with the 3.7-liter V-6 at the personal-use, entry-level buyer, Kuzak says. Because of the cost structures of body-on-frame pickup truck production, there isn't much of a price break for choosing a Ranger over an F-150.
Ford is calling its new, global Ranger the latest application of OneFord, the cost-cutting plan for global commonality. Yes, the new Ranger will be sold in 180 countries across the globe. Conversely, the F-150 remains a truly American model, and so it will share no major components with the new Ranger, despite being closer in size.
The new Ford Ranger is built on a new platform, and will be offered with both new and existing engine options, Kuzak says. As with the F-150, Ford will continue to offer it in regular, crew cab and super cab configurations.
The global Ranger has nothing to do with the once-planned Ford F-100, which the automaker never officially confirmed. The proposal for that truck would have been more likely a replacement for the Explorer SportTrac, which means it would have migrated to the Taurus-based transverse-engine, unibody platform, like the new '11 Explorer.
The effect would have been the same, though. As much as enthusiasts say they want smaller pickup trucks, the North American market favors full-size models. So long as they cost not much more than their smaller brethren (at least, in entry-level form), it makes more sense for Ford in Dearborn to concentrate on making them more fuel efficient, as dictated by 2016 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. As much as you think you may want a new Ranger, Ford is betting, wisely, that what you really want is an EcoBoost F-150.