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Orkin Drops Ford – Ranger Plan Backfires Again

In yet another blow to Ford’s strategy to turn Ranger buyers to F-150 owners, Orkin Pest Control is converting their fleet to Toyota Tacoma pickups. How big is this sales loss? Ford will lose 7,000 vehicles leases/sales annually. 

Orkin Drops Ford

Orkin is replacing its entire Ford Ranger fleet with Toyota Tacoma pickups. This is another blow to Ford’s strategy to move compact trucks buyers to Ford F-150 owners.

As it turns out, Orkin had been leasing 5,000 Ford Rangers and buying 2,000 of them annually. When the last Ford Ranger rolled off the line, Orkin started looking for a replacement. Orkin’s parent company Rollins said on September 25, 2012 that it is switching to the San Antonio, Texas built Toyota Tacoma.

“We researched every small truck on the market,” said Rollins fleet director Paul Youngpeter in a Detroit Free Press story, who liked the Ranger for its reliability, affordability and access to the truck bed, which Orkin outfits with a top, toolbox or pumps and spray rigs. “The Tacoma is our best option because it fits our needs and is the best value.”

According to the Detroit Free Press story, Rollins also considered “the Nissan Frontier, Ford F-150 and Ford Transit Connect.” It does use the F-150 (it owns 500 of them), but it found the large-scale use of the truck was simply too big for its business.

The fleet transition will begin in January when it will introduce the Toyota Tacoma with GPS and Orkin decals. The plan is to sell all the current Ford Rangers as the lease expires and start new leases on 5,000 Tacomas. By 2015, Rollins says all Ford Rangers should be gone from its fleet.

This news comes on top of auto industry analysts, Ford dealerships and Edmunds.com who say that compact truck buyers aren’t necessarily buying a full-size. Many of these customers still want a compact truck and are buying the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier instead.

What do you think? Did Ford foresee this happening or is it another blow to their strategy to move compact truck buyers to full-size pickups?

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