Ford Motor Co. is looking to revive its Ranger truck in North America and to produce a midsize pickup at its Michigan Assembly plant, according to sources aware of Ford’s future plans.
The automaker has begun negotiations with the United Auto Workers regarding its program to produce the vehicle at the factory in Wayne in 2018. The sources who could not speak publicly on the topic, said that the final decision is in talks right now, and it must be approved with the union and Ford’s board of directors.
The Ranger would probably replace the Focus and C-Max at the plant after production of these two models would move to Mexico. The resurrected car represents the kind of high-profit and high-volume the union wants and would probably demand before Ford’s members were to sign a contract proposal. It takes two sides to agree that the Range would be a good fit for the factory and the 4,500 employees working there.
For the American company, this pickup would represent a return to a small midsize truck segment, which is on a rise lately, and which would help the carmaker meet the strict fuel economy standards imposed by the federal government.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said that “There’s a real hunger for midsize trucks right now. Once upon a time, there were a lot of midsize trucks in this market. The ones that are available are cashing in on the demand.”
It is unclear though at the moment if the Ranger will be produced at Ford’s Wayne plant, with an output of 265,000 units last year and where there are five vehicles being produced: the Ford Focus, Focus Electric, Focus ST, the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi.
By Gabriela Florea