DEARBORN – The wait is almost over for the North American homecoming of the Ford Ranger.
Ranger has climbed the global sales charts since launching in other markets in 2011 – it was the fifth-best-selling midsize pickup in 2012 and now is second. When it returns to North America in 2019 following an eight-year hiatus, customers will be getting a truck tailored for this region.
“While it has the underpinnings of the global Ranger, this model is designed and engineered specifically for the North American customer,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager.
The all-new Ranger features a new exterior design similar to F-Series, and a chassis and powertrain developed specifically for North American truck customers. It features advanced technology such as LED headlamps and taillamps, plus available advanced driver-assist features such as Blind Spot Information System with trailer tow and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Ranger’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine will be paired with a segment-exclusive 10-speed transmission shared with F-150 Raptor. It has a unique interior design for North American-specific trim levels that include XL, XLT and Lariat.
Ranger will offer Chrome and Sport Appearance packages as well as FX2 and FX4 Off-Road packages. The FX4 Off-Road Package, exclusive to North America, includes off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates and FX4 badging.
Ranger debuts Ford’s all-new Trail Control, which is like cruise control for severe off-road driving. The system allows the driver to set off-road speed, then takes over acceleration and braking for improved off-road trekking that enables drivers to focus on steering along the course.
Ranger also features a Terrain Management System similar to that found on F-150 Raptor, which adapts the truck’s response to low-traction conditions. Its four drive modes include normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand.
The all-new Ranger shares similar attributes with F-Series, including high-strength, military-grade aluminum for its hood and stamped tailgate. Brian Bell, F-150 marketing manager, said this is what works for the all-new Ranger.
“This truck is a different animal,” he said.
While U.S. sales of midsize trucks have grown 83 percent since 2014, the timing for Ranger’s reintroduction goes beyond segment growth, according to Eckert.
“This isn’t about chasing the competition and what others have done before,” he said, noting that as average transaction prices on full-size trucks continue to grow – F-Series’ ATPs reached a new record of $47,800 per truck last year, $3,400 higher than 2016 – “this is the right opportunity to bring in a midsize truck.”
The all-new Ranger’s customer base will be different than that of F-Series, added Eckert. Both groups want their trucks for work, but the Ranger crowd will use the vehicle to enhance passions such as being outdoors and camping. All-new Ranger buyers will likely include returning owners – more than 7 million Rangers were built from 1982 until the vehicle was discontinued in 2011 – plus a new generation of midsize truck buyers.
The all-new Ford Ranger will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. It will be available in early 2019. Pricing details will be made available closer to launch.