Diesel Ranger cometh?

January 2011 News

Ford had the biggest and most bombastic new-car introduction of the whole Detroit Auto Show. More than that though, they introduced the best looking concept, and gave me a lot more to look forward to than minivans.

I already spent time griping about the C-Max, even though they are coming in plug-in and hybrid flavors. I have no family to cart to soccer practice, and even if I did, I couldn't show up at a drag strip in a C-Max and still respect myself in the morning. Sorry. Just not for me. I may love Ford, but I don't have to love every car they make.

Ok, I want to admit that this is absolutely a long shot, and don't get your hopes up if you're a fan of fuel-efficient, powerful diesel trucks. However, after the announcements, the executives stayed on stage to talk with the press. I waited patiently to talk to Derrick Kuzak, Vice President of Global Product Development. This was the gentleman who talked about Ford's overseas products, among them the 
new diesel-powered Ranger, so I knew this was the guy I wanted to talk to.

I started off by saying that, as a truck owner, I'm a bit concerned about Ford's current crop of offerings. The F-150 is too much truck for me, but this Ranger I see other countries getting, that looks like a perfect fit. Why aren't you bringing that Ranger to America?

Kuzak reminded me that Ford only sells the F-150 in North America. Then he said something that made my ears perk up; it's still "possible", he said, that the Ranger could come here, but that the small truck market has "shrunk from 8% of the market to about 2%". I wanted to tell him that's because small trucks have gotten too big, and that's the automakers fault, but from a bussiness point of view, I can see why it might be difficult to make the case for the diesel ranger.

I think slow sales in a segment equate to a lack of a good vehicle as opposed to some change in buyer tastes; I still want a small pickup. I just want one that gets decent fuel economy, isn't hampered by snow, and can still haul enough to be useful. It may be a lot to ask, but I think Ford's diesel Ranger could be the answer. But what do I know?

As long as Ford brings the Vertrek concept to life though, I think I'll be happy. It isn't a pickup truck, but it looks pretty awesome. Do you agree?

Read more at http://gas2.org/2011/01/14/ford-vertrek-focus-electric-and-the-diesel-ranger-cometh/

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