Can the Ford Ranger crash Chevy's small truck party?
Estimates say the market for smaller pickup trucks is saturated
Automotive News - Michael Martinez - January 16, 2018
If General Motors struck gold by reviving the Colorado and Canyon midsize pickups four years ago, then Ford had better hope that mine isn't tapped out by the time the Ranger reaches dealerships early next year.
The segment exploded in popularity this decade — it has surged 78 percent since 2014 — but that growth appears to be running out of steam...
..."Ford is late to the party," Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader, said in an interview. "The question is: Is there room for yet another entry, or has the growth in that segment peaked? It's quite possible that it has."
Still, Ford believes next year is the right time to resurrect the Ranger nameplate...
..."It's really just not about growth and the segment size itself; it's about some of the dynamics that are happening within full-size," Todd Eckert, Ford's truck marketing manager, told reporters this month. "As transaction prices continue to grow, we see more of an opportunity than we did, say, five years ago, to bring in a midsize pickup ... and really get to that entry-level buyer, who's a very different customer."
The Ranger, which Ford planned to unveil Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Detroit auto show, will differ significantly from the F-150...
...It includes rugged front and rear differentials from Dana Inc., which also supplies the Jeep Wrangler. An available electronic-locking rear differential should give the vehicle better off-road maneuverability than its bigger brother...
...Ford said it expects the Ranger to have best-in-class payload capacity but declined to give details on power, fuel economy, dimensions or weight.
The company hopes to recapture some of the midsize pickup buyers it abandoned when it closed the St. Paul, Minn., plant that built the previous-generation Ranger. It also aims to conquest from other brands, woo some F-150 buyers — though not too many, and only if they otherwise would have defected to a rival brand — and even snatch sales from small crossover and sedan buyers.
It wants the Ranger to add to its strong overall pickup sales; its full-size F series has been the nation's best-selling pickup for 41 straight years.