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Ford dropping Ranger pickup from U.S. lineup after 2011

Tue, 21 Sep 2010

Ford Motor Co., as expected, is dropping the venerable Ranger compact pickup from its U.S. lineup after the 2011 model year.

Ford is consolidating its global pickup truck platforms from three to two with the introduction of an all-new Ranger to be sold outside North America starting next year.

The new Ranger will be unveiled at the Sydney auto show in Australia next month.

Demand for compact pickups has been shrinking in the United States and Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer said the automaker made a decision several years ago to invest in and market a wider range of F-150 pickups, including V6 versions.

The new Ranger is also closer in size to the current F-150 sold in the United States.

The compact Ranger pickup debuted in the U.S. market in 1982, and later spawned the Explorer SUV.

Ranger demand peaked in 1999 at about 348,000 units, but sales dropped to 55,600 last year.

Ford previously announced plans to close a St. Paul, Minn., plant where the Ranger is assembled, but never confirmed whether the Ranger would be continued.

The Ranger has also been popular with fleet customers, and Shirmer said Ford hopes to convince some users to consider the Ford Transit Connect van when the small pickup is discontinued.

By David Phillips- Automotive News