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Ford’s Ranger Plan Backfires – Toyota’s New Customers

Recent surveys are showing that previous Ford Ranger owners aren’t necessarily buying into Ford’s plan for them to buy a Ford F-150 instead. Rather, they are now taking a long look at the Toyota Tacoma has a replacement. Ford’s plan to ignore compact-truck buyers is backfiring.

Ford's Ranger Plan Backfires

Recent reports suggest that despite what Ford thinks, the Ford F-150 doesn't look to appealing to former Ford Ranger owners.

Several analysts say the plan isn’t going so well after looking at data compiled by TrueCar.com and Edmunds.com that tracks online shoppers behaviors along with dealership information. The analysis is simple, about half of Ford Ranger owners are opting to leave the Ford brand completely.

“We do know that a good portion of would-be Ranger buyers are going to different brand,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry analysis for TrueCar.com told the Detroit News. “Ford may have been too optimistic in their assumption of how many Ranger buyers want to buy an F-150.

“There’s no question Ford has lost customers by not having a compact truck.”

For its part Ford is offering additional incentives to Ford Ranger owners to purchase a new Ford vehicle (not just a Ford F-150). Dealerships are finding that customers are now looking at the Ford Escape or Focus instead.

“A lot of them do go into pickup trucks because they need to, but a lot of owners are long-time owners and need a car,” said Jim Elder, general sales manager at Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights according to the Detroit News. “They are going for more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Edmunds.com is finding the same results. It says that only 29 percent of former Ranger owners are buying a Ford F-150. And more than 40 percent of people researching a car on the site are also looking at a Toyota Tacoma which is nearly twice as many who cross-shopped a Ford F-150.

“We are retaining some Ranger buyers, with the bulk of them moving to F-Series and Escape,” said Erich Merkle, Ford’s U.S. sales analyst. “As for the compact pickup segment, it has become a much smaller part of the overall industry over the last 12 years.”

Apparently Ford is truly done building a compact truck. For the record during the 30 years it built the Ranger, Ford put out more than 6.6 million models. The news that Ford is done is still a little surprising with the compact truck market going in two directions. There are Toyota and Nissan who are holding strong, Chevy is revamping its two models and Chrysler is looking to get involved (see: Chrysler to build a unibody compact pickup).

Ford’s strategy is that gas prices are still the largest buying choice for consumers and since full-size trucks get comparable gas mileage as compact-trucks, why not buy the bigger model. However, many consumers like the manuverability and smaller stature of a compact-truck. These owners have been tossed to the curb by Ford.

What do you think? Have you considered moving up in size to a full-size because gas is comparable? Or do you like the smaller size of compact-trucks?

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  • Dan

    Not comparable gas mileage. Better. F-150 V6 gets 23 mpg highway. Tacoma V6 is only 21.

    • Tim Esterdahl

      Dan,

      Not sure about 23. Ford states it gets 22. I don’t know if a 1 mpg difference can be considered “not comparable.”

      -Tim

    • Somebody

      You believe everything you see in print?

      The fuel consumption numbers given out are those published by the EPA, which favors american brands, out of some combination of protectionism and under the table deals.

      The EPA quotes Tacoma I4 4×4 at 21 mpg, the same as it quotes the V6.

      IT GETS 27!!!

      Ford gets about 10.

      • Tim Esterdahl

        Somebody,

        EPA estimates are becoming more and more controversial due to their archaic testing standards. Real-world testing via car reviews always seems to be more accurate.

        -Tim

  • Jefffowler

    I have a 2012 Tacoma crew can with the long bed. On the highway I get 19.5 and around town I get 16.5. If you look at widow sticker mileage it is always better than what you really get. My 06 Tacoma 4.0L 6 spd. Manual avg. about 17.5 all around.

  • “However, many consumers like the manuverability and smaller stature of a compact-truck.” You said it right brother.

    Plus, my experience with Ford is that you get worse mileage than their sticker reads. I wouldn’t opt for a full size pickup unless I had to (for business, etc).

    Plus, if Ford is able to make a full-size pickup that does over 20MPG, imaging what they could do with a lightweight compact pickup. For a company as big as Ford, I think they are dumbasses to have abandoned compacts altogether.

  • Moondog

    I have actually always gotten better mileage out of my Ford trucks but have heard others say they do not. I have a 2011 Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport 4WD and get 20.5 MPG in mixed driving. I didn’t buy the truck for the mileage – I bought it for the size. I don’t like driving full-size trucks anymore and don’t need the size. I think Ford knows they have an ace up their sleeve if needed with the new global Ranger, but if they don’t use it soon by bringing it to America, they have truly screwed up. They should stop worrying so much about their F-150 market share and focus on moving more units as a whole. The new Ranger would help them do just that.

  • bwdaz

    I had been waiting to upgrade my old Ranger to the new 2012 redesign I had been reading about. When I found out it would not be sold in the US, I went with the Tacoma. The Ranger was a great truck for me, but I have no regrets about going with the Tacoma.

    • Tim Esterdahl

      BWDAZ,

      Nice!

      -Tim

    • Moondog

      I have no regrets about going with the Tacoma either, bwdaz. In fact, I couldn’t be happier with my Tacoma and plan on being in it for a long time. Ford screwed up and took the Wal-Mart approach of “we’ll give them what we have and convince them they want it.” People who want compact or mid-size trucks want them for a reason (usually because they don’t want a full-size). The buyers are speaking loudly now and switching to other brands that sell what they want, not what Ford says they want.

      • Tim Esterdahl

        Moondog,

        That is what we thought. Normally the market determines your offerings, not the other way around where you offerings determine the market.

        -Tim

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  • John

    As a Ranger owner, I am not the least bit interested in a full sized F-150. It is too big. I love my Ranger. It is nimble and has enough guts to get the job done when called upon. I feel this move of discontinuing small pickup trucks is ill conceived. I am looking at the Tacoma now as a next truck.