Ford Ranger won’t cannibalize F-150 sales, Joe Hinrichs says

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Hinrichs said the first Rangers should be available to buyers in January 2019. Depicted is a Pre-Production Ranger who recently leaves the assembly line. Photo credit: FORD

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. does not believe the mid-sized Ranger will steal a lot of business from its profitable full-size F-Series trucks when the smaller pick-up returns to North American showrooms early next year.

"There will always be some replacement, but this is more of a lifestyle vehicle for people who want to use it for different purposes," said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's Global Operations, Monday at an event on the occasion of the expected start of the production of the Ranger next week. "The F-150 has become bigger and more expensive with time, we think that there is now room to let the Ranger slip into the showroom."

Hinrichs said the first Rangers should be available to buyers in January 2019. Ford recently redeveloped its Michigan Assembly Plant in the suburb Wayne, Michigan, to build the pickup and in 2020 the resurrected Bronco SUV.

Some parts of the factory in the body, the paint and the stamping are already at work. Final assembly workers will return next week, Ford said.

The revived Ranger will start at $ 25,895, including postage, and will come in at more than $ 40,000. That's about the same as the segment leading Toyota Tacoma, which starts at $ 25,400 for 2018 models, but more than the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Prices for the 2019 Colorado start at $ 21,495, while the 2019 Canyon starts at $ 23,095.

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The four-cylinder engine with 2.3-liter turbocharger from the Ranger can tow and carry more than the V-6 gasoline deals from its rivals, Ford says.

It comes in three trim levels: XL, XLT and Lariat. Ford sells two-door SuperCab and four-door SuperCrew configurations and offers two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive for every configuration.

An off-road FX4 package is offered on all 4wd models.

The Ranger is no longer active in the United States in 2011 but has continued to sell in a number of overseas markets. The latest American version, to be built in Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant, has a largely steel body, axles manufactured by Dana Inc. – which the Jeep Wrangler delivers – and an exterior design similar to its larger counterparts from the F-series.

The previous U.S. Ranger was regularly one of the top sellers in the segment, including number 1 only recently in 2004. In the 1990s, sales of rangers routinely exceeded 300,000 a year before the early 2000s faded.

However, interest in the medium-sized segment has increased. It has risen to 18 percent this year after an increase of less than 1 percent in 2017.

"We are very excited about the growth we see in the mid-size segment," Hinrichs said. "We believe that bringing back the Ford Ranger will increase this excitement and get more interest in that segment."