duplicate post from SA:Ford-----------------------------Here's an interesting piece from Car and Driver about the demise of the small pickup truck. As has been frequently questioned Ford ended production of its Ranger in the US last year. It appears the company is still considering the viability of a small truck, but they are considering something with less overlap to the F-150. Their thinking is that it needs to be positioned somewhere in the range of a 1000 lb. payload and the capability of towing up to 3000 lbs. And, of course, it will need to have significantly better fuel economy. Additional details are available with the link below.http://blog.caranddriver.com/ford-considers-challenges-of-ne...Doug
Not so long ago, Ford introduced the Transit Connect..... a little van based off the Focus. I've thought that a small pick-up based off the Focus could be a viable approach for folks wanting a pick-up with relatively low capacity.Looking at the Escape, also built off the Focus, we can see that AWD is possible as well as not-so-bad load and towing capability.The trick would be providing a pick-up box..... while retaining overall body stiffness off the unibody construction. Could it be done? Absolutely.Rob
Love both of your guys' insight. I'm holding my breath hoping the Atlas is fairly intact when the actual product rolls off the line.OT: MKZ Review: http://www.freep.com/article/20130214/COL14/302140056/1014/b...OT: Domestics catching Foreigners - (Really enjoyed the charts on this one) http://www.freep.com/article/20130213/BUSINESS01/130213037/1...MjH
This is interesting. If an F-100 came back, it could address some of the cost issue for casual buyers that might pop up when the F-150 gets its refresh. The Atlas prototype looks like it would be a very expensive vehicle, and GM seems to moving in the cheaper direction. In that presentation Rob posted a link to, management made no attempt to dispel an analyst's assertion that Ford's aimed at the high end market with the new F-150. An F-100 may be better equiped to compete for the cheaper segment.Peter
As an aside, if you read the article that Doug posted, it has a Wiki link in it to the "chicken tax".http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_taxApparently, any light truck imported into the US is subject to a 25% tariff that goes back to the LBJ administration and a European trade war. It's called the "chicken tax". That name's so absurd it's ridiculous. Apparently, the light truck tariff was in response to a European poultry tariff on US chickens.The Wiki link also notes that Ford works around the chicken tax with its Transit Connect. The Transits are shipped from Turkey with passenger interiors that are then stripped out in the US. So, the passenger vehicle actually becomes a light truck in the US, avoiding the tariff.I'll have to file that away in the absurd, but true category...Peter
I've thought that a small pick-up based off the Focus could be a viable approach for folks wanting a pick-up with relatively low capacity.I wonder how big the market is for pickup trucks that let you carry stuff but which lack the macho image that seems to be such a big part of the market. Have you seen a breakdown of demand that splits out using them for tasks that need a pickup vs just being big and masculine?
I wonder how big the market is for pickup trucks that let you carry stuff but which lack the macho image that seems to be such a big part of the market. Have you seen a breakdown of demand that splits out using them for tasks that need a pickup vs just being big and masculine? -- RHNo, but I think that's a good point.A pick-up based off the Focus would be more like the old Chevy El Caminos or Ford Rancheros..... not a big hulking F150... and not even like a Ford Ranger.The suggestion of building a stripped F150 and calling it an F100 is an interesting thought. I don't know if the economics and marketing would work out (could you strip enough out to be able to enable a significantly lower price, preserve margins..... and not goof up the brand image).Rob
What's the point? Does F really make much on small pickups? (I really have no idea) There was a time when the small pickup was the second car for many that used to own a big pickup for farm, small business but thought they couldn't afford it anymore... really an outgrowth of the first gas crisis, I think. But if you have really efficient vehicles that can tow, a trailer is a much better solution than a "small pickup" (sort of an oxymoron ha). A new Explorer or even Escape that can tow 4000 (not 3000) lbs would be a winner over a small pickup in my book...of course I am not the market. If Ford captures the upper end of the market, with the fattest margin and leaves little to the lame, maybe that's a good thing. BTW it did not escape my notice that in the last few years Toyota went BIGGER.... I am thinking that says something about the market.
SkepikI,It's not a given that this small pickup ever goes anywhere. Ford is simply saying they're looking at it. Toyota is not alone in moving up in size. The other small pickups have grown as well. If the increasing fuel costs drive demand for a small truck up substantially enough, or if there is some market research suggesting that it will then I think you'll see some substantive action. Normally, the first thing you see would be a concept vehicle that is shown to gauge reactions. We haven't even seen that yet.Doug
I had a friend who worked for years on the old Ranger program. They could never get funding for a big update because the financial story would never make sense. Ford minimized investment in the program, milked profits from it for years with the huge segment market share it had.... and eventually dropped it as required new investments for safety and emissions made the story unprofitable.I could see Ford coming out with a small pick-up based off the C-platform (Focus or Transit Connect) or B-platform (Fiesta or B-Max)..... but that doesn't mean they'd sell it in the US. It's possible they'd just sell it in emerging markets.Rob
hmmm maybe another bit of evidence for astute management. Thanks Rob