Sources close to Ford say a new, small unibody pickup could be based on the new Focus platform.
After seven years, Ford will bring the Ranger nameplate back to the United States in 2019. That’s exciting news, but Automobile magazine caught wind of a new rumor circulating from those familiar with the company’s future product plan. In a bid to hold onto its first-place position in the truck market, Ford may bring a new compact unibody pickup into the fold by 2022.
Sources close to Ford suggest the pickup would slot below the Ford Ranger. However, it would be bigger than the former Ford Courier, last built in Brazil until 2013. Now, if that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because we actually did get a Ford Courier back in the 1970s. It was essentially a rebadged Mazda B-Series pickup. That truck, as well as its name, were ultimately supplanted by the original Ford Ranger in 1982. While the Ranger name has much more clout in the marketplace – hence why Ford decided to bring it back to the U.S. in the midsize segment – its unclear what this small pickup could be named.
Ford may call a new unibody pickup the Courier, reviving that nameplate. Although, there is one other nameplate for a car-like design with a truck bed they could use. Perhaps we’ll see a revival of the Ranchero? Ford plans to cut almost all passenger cars from its lineup in the coming years. On that basis, it makes sense to fill as many niches in the crossover and truck market as possible.
Does it make sense with the F-150 and Ranger in the lineup?
There are a few hurdles a compact unibody pickup would have to clear to make it to production. One is a financial justification. Unibody vehicles are more expensive to build, and the profit margins would be smaller than, say, an F-150. Speaking of the F-150, Ford’s most popular truck is selling like mad right now. In fact, Ford has already sold 451,138 F-Series trucks in the first half of this year. Could a smaller, cheaper pickup with smaller profit margins really come to fruition?
Name recognition may also be an issue, depending on what Ford may call this model. Ranchero may spark an interest, while Courier is a name most Americans don’t really recognize. However, neither GM nor Toyota currently have anything in their arsenal to compete with that type of vehicle. If they were to revive the Ranchero name and position it in an area with no competition, Ford could well hang onto its lead in the numbers game.