Ford Motor Co on Sunday will officially unveil the eagerly awaited Ranger, midsize pickup truck. The reveal is a year ahead of its arrival in showrooms, as rivals consolidate positions in a segment Detroit automakers once gave up for dead.
Ford executives did not disclose prices or fuel efficiency ratings for the new Ranger in the press conference preceding the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
More than two years ago, Ford confirmed its decision to re-launch the Ranger midsized truck in North America after killing the model in 2011. During this time, Ford executives said they could satisfy pickup truck demand – and make more money – by widening the price range and engine options of its larger F-150 pickup model line. Rivals, General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV abandoned the segment around the same time.
However, in late 2014, GM launched new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Sierra pickups, Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co reinvigorated their midsize pickup trucks, aiming at customers who wanted to haul bikes, surfboards and other bulky gear.
As gasoline prices stabilized, more customers turned to the new, smaller pickups. GM in 2017 sold more than 145,000 Colorado and Canyon trucks. Toyota, the segment leader, sold more than 198,000 Tacoma trucks in 2017, up 3,4 percent from a year earlier and 27 percent ahead of 2014, according to figures compiled by Autodata.
Sales in the US compact pickup segment grew in 2017 to more than 417,000 vehicles, up to more than 70 percent from 2014 according to Autodata.
Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert said in a statement, “we see more of an opportunity that didn’t exist five years ago.”
Ford executives said the Ranger will share engineering and some design elements with a work-orientated pickup. The company builds and sells in Southeast Asia and other markets. The interior of the Ranger will be styled and aimed at a more affluent, recreational buyer.
The ranger is due to launch early 2019 and will assembled in its Wayne and Michigan factory in Detroit. Ford’s decision to invest $850 million in the Wayne plant to build the new ranger won praise from US president Donald Trump.