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By Mark Kleis

Ford hasn’t said officially what, if anything, will replace the Ford Ranger American consumers when production ends in 2011, and the latest news from Ford seems to indicate no future at all.

The future Ranger, expected as a 2012 model year vehicle, appears a bit larger than the current Ranger sold in the U.S., which isn't available in a four-door crew cab configuration. Ford has also confirmed the death of the Exlorer Sport-Trac four-door model, which may possibly open the door for a four-door Ranger. But despite what may seem like an obvious move for Ford to offer the global Ranger in the U.S., the total lack of mention of the U.S. market in Ford's latest press release indicates no intention to bring this small pickup stateside.

Although Ford gave virtually no information at this time to accompany the teaser image found in our gallery, the automaker did mention that the next-generation Ranger will offer more power and "excellent fuel economy" from an all-new engine family. Ford says it has logged over one million kilometres of testing in varying conditions, ranging from the Outback to the deserts of the Middle East to the Alps in Europe.

What we know so far

The T6 test trucks spotted are configured in both left- and right-hand drive versions, and are longer and wider than the current overseas Ranger. The test mules that we photographed are powered by diesel and gas engines. An industry source says the T6 Ranger may be powered by a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged EcoBoost engine producing at least 175 horsepower and 180 pounds-feet of torque.

Previously it was believed that Ford's 3.0-liter Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, rated at 154 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque, would be carried over in the new truck for buyers outside the U.S. - but now that the automaker suggested a new engine family, everything is up in the air.

It is worth noting, however, that Ford has claimed they do not intend to bring the global Ranger to the U.S. market once they kill off the aging U.S. market Ranger next year. Some speculate that the cannibalizing of F-150 sales would cost Ford more than what they will lose by simply not offering a smaller pickup.

We think that Ford may want to reconsider, especially when market research shows that many customers start with entry-level vehicles and eventually progress to larger offerings from the same automaker.



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Future Models - Ford 2011 Ranger

First look: Ford teases next Ranger

Range-finder: Australian-designed 2011 Ford Ranger will be sold in 180 countries.

Official: Ford Australia confirms next Ranger will make its world debut in Sydney

20 September 2010


THE all-new Australian-designed 2011 Ranger will make its world debut at the Sydney motor show on October 15.

Ford Australia confirmed the widely anticipated news this week with a single image of the vital new global utility vehicle that reveals the next-generation one-tonner will continue with the Ranger nameplate.

It also shows the next Ranger will wear a bold, bluff face dominated by a vertical three-bar chromed grille featuring the Ranger name and Ford’s Blue Oval badge.

Ford’s all-new compact pick-up will be joined in Sydney by the world debut of Mazda’s closely related BT-50 redesign.

Both vehicles are based on an all-new global compact truck platform engineered in Campbellfield and developed in Geelong.

Ford said the Ranger will offer a new level of ownership experience when it goes on sale in a total of 180 markets globally from next year, with new levels of driving quality, more capability than ever with “exceptional” towing and payload capacity, and more power and “excellent” fuel economy from a new engine family.

“Australia has played a leading role in the development of this latest global Ford product,” said the president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, Joe Hinrichs.

“Ranger is symbolic of how our great product development capability is being leveraged by the One Ford plan like never before.”

Apart from its “dazzlingly contemporary new look”, Ford says the new Ranger will not only build on its predecessor’s workhorse credentials, “but it also gives owners a spacious, comfortable, feature-filled interior and sophisticated driving experience that they would expect only from a car”.

The new Ranger, which will be built alongside the next-generation BT-50 in Thailand following a $394 million investment to continue joint-venture production of both models, is said to be the product of more than one million kilometres of testing in some of the world’s toughest conditions – from the Australian Outback to the Middle East and European Alps.

Alongside the 2011 Ranger’s world debut, Ford Australia will also use the first Australian International Motor Show in Sydney for two years to stage local debuts of the limited-edition Focus RS hot-hatch, which will be launched later this month, FPV’s first supercharged GS and GT models, and the new petrol and diesel-powered Fiesta sedan.

“Fiesta has been extremely successful in Australia,” said Ford Australia president Marin Burela. “Since its launch in early 2009, Ford’s share of the light car segment has grown from 4.7 percent to 8.3 percent.

“We fully expect that the new sedan and diesel variants will attract even more new customers to the Fiesta range, along with the availability of the new 1.6-litre PowerShift automatic transmission.”



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