It’s the end of the road for the Ranger in the U.S.
Ford is ending production of the smallest pickup it makes, a truck that helped the company battle more fuel-efficient Japanese imports when it was launched in 1982. The last American-made Ranger rolls off the assembly line in Minnesota today.
After peaking in the mid-1990s, sales of the Ranger have fallen over the last decade, hurt by neglect as Ford focused on more- profitable large pickups. The Ranger’s styling grew stale, it lost its fuel- economy edge, and the price wasn’t much lower than beefier siblings such as the F-150.
Other companies aren’t so sure it’s time to ditch small pickups. Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. all plan to continuing selling small pickups in the U.S., citing high gas prices and loyal buyers.
Still, sales of small pickups topped out at 1.2 million, or 8 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., in 1994, according to LMC Automotive, a consulting group.