The Ford Ranger is no longer produced in the United States. While Ford is still taking some stick over discontinuing the model, Nissan is gunning for Ford’s share of small pickup sales.
Ford takes flak
Small pickups make up one of the smallest segments of the overall car market, representing just 2 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, according to USA Today. Ford sold 70,832 Ranger pickups in 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune. While that’s not a number to scoff at, more than 500,000 units of the F-series full-size pickup were sold in that same year.
Ford executives, according to USA Today, have been lambasted at auto shows and events for killing the pickup line, and they have staunchly defended their decision. It made sense to pull the plug, rather than bring in the global Ranger. The global model, according to PickupTrucks.com, the truck counterpart to Cars.com, is only 10 percent smaller than the F-150, and as with anything else in the U.S., why not get the bigger one?
Nissan feels your pain
Though Ford has exited the segment, Nissan, according to AutoBlog, is more than happy to provide light pickup trucks for the masses. Nissan has already started an advertising campaign to get people interested in the Frontier with the release of a new television spot.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Nissan managed to sell 51,700 Frontiers last year, up 28 percent from 2010. The truck is also fairly popular overseas, according to AutoGuide, where it’s sold as the Nissan Navara.
Segment far from dead
Ford is not likely to produce the global version of the Ranger in the United States, and there are other international truck models, such as the Toyota Hilux, which could be considered much more desirable. However, the Hilux coming to North America seems unlikely, as the rock star of the light pickup segment in the U.S. is the Toyota Tacoma, which sold 110,705 units in 2011, according to MarketWatch.
Chevrolet is going to bring the global version of the Chevrolet Colorado, according to MSN. The new version, which was designed by General Motors Brazil, will be built in Wentzville, Mo., and is likely to go on sale in 2013 as a 2014 model. It isn’t known whether it will get re-badged as a GMC or if it will have the 2.8-liter turbo-charged diesel the international version gets.
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/sns-nissan-frontier-wants-ranger-sales-20120107,0,2485552.story