The Ford Ranger has been sentenced to death, at least after the 2011 model year. The little pick-up that drove me from Beach Babe to Horse Person back in the late 1980s, that hauled feed and hay and garden supplies and house-fix-it stuff, the vehicle that waded through flooded road beds and taught me how to drive in mud will soon be no more. Let us all bow our heads and give the Ranger a minute of silence, in memoriam. Ford has announced that it will be marketing an all-new Ranger outside North America beginning next year.
The vehicle that broke my truck virginity will be unveiled in, of all places, Australia in October. Somebody book me a plane ticket. Okay, I should have seen it coming. Mini trucks have been getting bigger. Full-size ½-ton models were offered with six-cylinder options. Eventually the two became one. UTEs and SUVs dominated the suburbs. The mini trucks that weaned a whole generation away from mere cars became scarce on even rural roads. The signs were all there. The Ranger was on notice.
Ford says the Ranger is now close in size to the current F-150s. The spokesman claims demand peaked in 1999 when 348,000 Rangers were sold and the nadir of sales in 2009 hit 55,600. That’s 55,600 happy, little, indestructible (and believe me, I tried) Rangers. Ford even has the unmitigated gall to suggest I should look to the new Transit Connect van when the Ranger fades from view. A van—over my dead body! Maybe we’re all to blame, even me. I now drive a ½-ton, can’t really haul a ton of hay in a mini-truck. I feel horrible, but it’s too late. Forgive me. But all is not lost. There’s always emigration. They say Australia’s gorgeous in the Fall, Spring, whatever season it is where the Ranger still lives.