Following the success of the Transit Connect in North America and the excited introduction of the Ford Fiesta, Ford Motor Company has apparently not realized the positive impact of their world car fleet on the United States market. A popular name within the Ford Motor Company (dating back to the marketing disaster which was the Edsel division in the late 1950s), the Ranger moniker disappears in 2011 only to find new live across the ocean. Geared for the European, African, Australian and South America continent, the new Ford Ranger pickup will snub North American car markets in fears of stealing sales away from the full-sized Ford F-150.
Providing some background, it should be noted that Ford has since 1998 been exercising the same treatment with the Ranger name globally as we’ve seen with the Focus compact. Maintaining two deeply distinct vehicles, the North American consumers received an aging pickup while the international market Rangers were built on Mazda-based truck platforms. In fact, the arrangement where Ford’s small international pickup were rebadged Madzas (first named the Ford Courier) stretches back to 40 years. At first, Ford entered the small truck market in the United States using these Mazda-based vehicle but that ended in 1983 when Ford introduced the Ranger compact pickup.
Debuting in the southern hemisphere city of Sydney, Australia this past Thursday, the new international Ford Ranger boasts to be the largest scale and most capable vehicle in its class. Embodying many unique qualities not found on North American vehicles, the Ford truck grille is a symbolic international touch as diverse as Esperanto. The Ranger pickup truck is built on a new Ford T6 platform offered in the common rear-wheel and four-wheel drivetrain configurations.
While not a Mazda chassis, Ford did inquire the input of the Japanese corporate playmate on the suspension. With minimum 9 inches of ground clearance available on the Ranger, the rear-wheel and four-wheel drive variants. Riding on coil-over front shock absorbers as well as a strong rear suspension, the international Ford Ranger promises to withstand the worst the Australian outback or any other global terrain can throw at the new vehicle. Matt Reilly, the vehicle dynamics supervisor for the Ford Ranger said “What we found was high-speed driving on good roads; high-speed driving on bad roads; and loading the vehicle up to maximum capacity,”.
Ford has cited the size of the new Ranger (centered on an near identical wheelbase as the base F-150 pickup’s 126-inch measurement) as the reason they are choosing not to sell the new truck in North America. However, it’s interesting to point out the current Ranger SuperCab also resides within this wheelbase range.
The final old-style Ford Ranger is slated to be sold in the United States without a replacement coming through the pipelines. A few years ago, a downsized Ford F-150-based vehicle was briefly considered to replace the market segment the Ranger compact pickup occupies but that plan was scrubbed.
As no intentions exist in bringing the new international Ranger pickup to the United States, recent history has demonstrated Ford Motor Company can be preceptive to motorist demands. We, as consumers, should not be discouraged by what the voices of the blue oval are saying at this moment.
Information and photo source: Ford Motor Company