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The small pickup truck market may be getting another new competitor from Detroit.
Production will end for the Ford Ranger on December 22, according to the United Auto Workers 879 June-August newsletter. The Ranger is currently built in Ford’s Twin Cities assembly plant and the truck has been built since January 1982.
The Ranger originally replaced the Ford Courier which was based on the Mazda B-Series small truck. The Ranger was built to work hard, achieve decent gas mileage and compete against small Japanese and American trucks like the Datsun, Toyota and Chevrolet pickups. So far, more than 7 million Ranger trucks have been built since first produced.
Ford has yet to announce a replacement for the Ranger. So far the F-150 has a new 3.7-liter V6 that is most comparable to the outgoing vehicle. However, an all-new Ford Ranger goes on sale later this year for markets outside of North America.
[Source: Pickup Trucks]
Ford announced a recall of their trucks and crossovers – including 23,688 Ranger pickup trucks – because of a fuel line near the throttle body shield that could leak fuel and cause a fire, and an electrical system that might short out and, well, cause a fire.
Ford is recalling 8,022 Edge and Lincokn MKX crossovers, as well as the entire F-series range, because of the electrical issue. The Ranger models affected by the fuel line issue are all 2010 models, built between October 2009 and May 2010 at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota.
No problems have been reported yet, but Ford knows it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially in regards to their cars bursting into flames.
First increase since 2007 a sign that Ford is on the right track
With the current state of affairs in the auto industry, smaller than expected losses have been cause to celebrate, so imagine the party the folks over at Ford must be having right now as the company announced today that it actually posted a sales gain.
Last month Ford’s 10 percent loss was seen as a sign that Ford is on the right track and that the economy might just be recovering. This month the American automaker posted a two percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier. But that number doesn’t even tell the whole story as retail sales were actually up nine percent. Less impressive fleet sales (notorious for low profit margins) curbed that number down to two percent.
As a sign that Ford is not only fighting off this recession, but that the automaker is actually producing products that consumers want to buy, this sales gain is the first since November 2007.
Ford’s sales and marketing VP Ken Czubay credited the company’s fuel-efficient vehicles, combined with the government’s Cash-for-Clunkers program for the positive results. “We had another strong month in progress before the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program started,” he said. “Our products, our dealers and our advance preparation enabled us to leverage the program and drive traffic and sales to another level. In addition, we achieved a sales increase even though we decreased incentive spending in an increasingly competitive environment.”
Particularly successful models for Ford included the Fusion, Escape, Ranger and Flex. Fusion sales were up 66 percent; Escape sales were up 94 percent; while Ranger and Flex sales were both up 65 percent over a year ago. In addition Ford saw a drastic increase in the number of customers opting for hybrids, with Ford’s hybrid lineup (including the Fusion, Milan, Escape and Mariner) posting an increase of 323 percent.
Official release after the jump: